Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα European Parliament. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα European Parliament. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Παρασκευή, Νοεμβρίου 21, 2014

Reducing use of plastic bags: MEPs strike deal with Council Presidency


EU countries would have to reduce the use of the commonest and most polluting plastic carrier bags, under draft rules informally agreed between MEPs and the Italian Presidency of the Council on Monday and confirmed by the member states’ permanent representatives on Friday. Plastic carrier bag litter is a major environmental problem, as it is known to pollute bodies of water and aquatic eco-systems in particular.


 "This is an historic moment for all of Europe. For the first time ever we have agreed on ambitious measures to reduce the amount of plastic bag waste in the environment. This is good news for the environment and all Europeans who expected the EU to take ambitious action on plastic bags”, said Margrete Auken (Greens/EFA, DK), who is steering the legislation through Parliament.

“As front-running countries have demonstrated, dramatically reducing the consumption of these disposable bags is easily achievable with a consistent policy. Swiftly phasing out these bags is a readily-implementable solution to the pervasive problem of plastic waste in the environment", she added.

“We are satisfied with the green light for this important dossier” said Environment Committee chair Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT).

“The European Commission’s new approach demonstrates an important sense of responsibility. We called upon the Commission to act as a real facilitator between the two legislative institutions. Parliament and Council have done a good job for the Environment and the European citizens”, he added.

Reduction targets

If the rules come into force, member states would be able to choose between two policy options: to either take measures to ensure that average yearly consumption of these bags does not exceed, on 90 lightweight bags per citizen by 2019 and 40 by 2025, or alternatively, ensure that, by 2018, they are not handed to shoppers free of charge.

The European Commission would have to evaluate the impact on the environment of oxo-degradable plastic materials, which fragment into small particles, and propose measures accordingly.

Next steps

The agreement between the EP delegation and the Italian Presidency will be put to a vote in the Environment Committee on Monday 24 November in Strasbourg.

Background

Lightweight plastic bags thinner than 50 microns – the vast majority of plastic carrier bags used in the EU – are less reusable than thicker models and become waste more quickly. They are also more prone to litter the environment.

In 2010 every EU citizen used an estimated 198 plastic carrier bags, some 90% of which were lightweight. In a business-as-usual scenario, consumption of plastic bags is expected to grow further. Estimates also suggest that over eight billion plastic carrier bags became litter in the EU in 2010.
 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20141121IPR79835/
21/11/14
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Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 06, 2014

Climate change talks: MEPs chart the course from Lima to Paris

 Talks to be held in Lima next month should enable global partners to reach an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in 2015, so as to keep the world on track for a sub-2°C climate warming scenario, said the Environment Committee in a resolution voted on Wednesday.
 MEPs reiterated the pledge by the EU and its member states to step up contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund so as to mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020, and called on other donors to play their part too.

"Our ultimate goal is to put our economies on track for a sub-2°C climate warming scenario. In Lima next month, UNFCCC parties are to work constructively to develop elements of the agreement to be concluded in Paris, and we should play a key role", said Environment Committee chair Giovanni La Via, who will lead a parliamentary delegation to Lima next month.

“Of course we face a political challenge to convince all concerned that moving towards a low-carbon economy is not something punitive, but will instead allow us to create jobs and to develop the technologies and products that the global community will need”, he added.

All countries should contribute, as delaying action will increase costs and reduce options, says the resolution, which was approved by 56 votes to 2 with 9 abstentions. The Lima Conference should also agree on information requirements to ensure that national contributions are quantifiable and comparable, it adds.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050
MEPs see the 1-12 December Lima conference as an opportunity to set key goals ahead of the 2015 international agreement to be discussed in Paris (COP 21) on 30 November- 11 December 2015. This agreement should clearly include steps for mitigation, adaptation and an implementation strategy in to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050, they say.

EU contribution

MEPs note that by 2012, the EU had cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 19% from 1990 levels, in line with the Kyoto Protocol, while increasing its GDP by more than 45%. It thus almost halved its average emission intensity between 1990 and 2012, and reduced its per capita emissions by 25%.

They also recall the commitment made by the EU and its member states to step up funding for climate measures by capitalising the UN’s Green Climate Fund and jointly mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020, as part of their contribution to the December 2009 UN Copenhagen Accord aiming to keep global warming below 2°C. MEPs call on other donors to do likewise, so as to mobilise more funding for climate measures.

Developing countries

MEPs stress that agreements on funding climate measures, technology transfer and capacity building will be essential to help developing countries, which contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions, but are most vulnerable to their effects, due to their limited capacity to react and adapt.

Air and sea

MEPs reiterate that both the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), must take steps to achieve satisfactory and timely results in line with the degree and urgency of climate change.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20141104IPR77230/
5/11/14

Πέμπτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 25, 2014

Oettinger on energy security: “Gas can be used as a weapon and no longer be delivered" (EP -25.09.14)


Europe should ensure people and companies enjoy a secure supply of energy and this includes measures based on solidarity, said energy commissioner Günther Oettinger addressing the EP's energy committee on 24 September. In his last appearance as energy commissioner at the Parliament, Oettinger looked back at his tenure over the last five years and discussed future challenges regarding the EU's energy policy, including the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


Committee chair Jerzy Buzek, a Polish member of the EPP group, referred to the situation in Ukraine in his welcome statement: “The crisis in Ukraine reminds us that energy security of the EU does not end at the EU borders. It is a pan-European challenge.”

  • In his opening speech, Mr Oettinger said that in the field of energy, many people think that relations with Russia are more important that relations with Ukraine, but "we have to overcome this". He added: “Gas can be used as a weapon and no longer  be delivered. This is not yet the case, but we believe that Russia will do whatever they can to undermine Ukraine.” Oettinger said: “Perhaps Ukraine could purchase gas from Russia with co-finance from the EU in order to store more gas.”

The commissioner also pleaded for more collaboration on energy. The EU already has a legal basis to work on energy issues, but "we now have 28 fragmented systems", he said. Several MEPs shared his view that more should be done to combat this fragmentation and to link the energy sectors of countries within the EU.

MEPs

Martina Werner, a German member of the S&D group, said: “He has partly applied climate goals, but not fully. I’m especially critical of the directive on energy efficiency. We, the Socialists and Democrats, had hoped for much more.”

Dawid Bohdan Jackiewicz, a Polish member of the ECR group, asked whether new energy efficiency targets would hurt member states’ competitiveness and wondered how they would affect energy prices.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140924STO69503/
25/9/14
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Le parlement européen prolonge les droits d'émission de CO2 gratuits pour l'industrie

La commission de l'Environnement du Parlement européen a donné son feu vert mercredi à la liste des industries lourdes qui pourront bénéficier dans les prochaines années de droits d'émission de CO2 gratuits. 

En principe, les entreprises doivent acheter des droits pour le CO2 qu'elles émettent.


 La Commission européenne a toutefois rédigé une liste de secteurs qui peuvent bénéficier de dérogations parce qu'elles subiraient des désavantages concurrentiels sur le marché mondial et risqueraient dès lors de délocaliser leurs activités. 


La liste comprend notamment les secteurs de l'acier et du ciment. Une majorité de la commission parlementaire a soutenu la proposition de prolonger cette liste jusqu'en 2020.

 Les Verts et certains socialistes ont dénoncé le manque de transparence de ce document qui, selon eux, n'est pas fondé sur des données réalistes. 

Ils ont épinglé le prix du charbon qui sert de référence: il est établi à 30 euros la tonne alors qu'habituellement, la Commission estime qu'il ne dépassera pas 16,5 euros d'ici 2020. (Belga) 
[rtl.be]
24/9/14
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Παρασκευή, Ιουλίου 25, 2014

EP committee examines EU energy security plan. --Six EU countries depend on Russia as the supplier for their entire gas imports.

European Parliament (EP) industry committee debated on the energy security plans this week, seeking ways for the European Union (EU) to reduce energy dependence, EP said in a statement published on Thursday.

The energy security plan, submitted by the European Commission, aims to improve the EU's situation of relying on the external energy.

Statistics shows the EU imports 53 percent of the energy it consumes, including almost 90 percent of its crude oil, 66 percent of its natural gas and 42 percent of its solid fuels such as coal.


In 2013 the bill for importing energy amounted to about 400 billion euros (about 538.5 billion US dollars), said the EP.

Meanwhile, EU is also heavily dependent on one single supplier, namely Russia, responsible for a third of oil imports, 39 percent of gas and 26 percent of solid fuels. Six EU countries depend on Russia as the supplier for their entire gas imports.

  • That can make the EU "vulnerable to external energy suppliers", the statement said.
The EU is now seeking to reduce this dependence by diversifying energy sources and suppliers, cutting back on energy consumption, boosting energy production and cooperation between countries and investing in renewable energy.

These initiatives and others have all been outlined in the European energy security strategy, which was presented by the European commission in May and debated by the industry committee this week.

"Energy security will play a prominent role in the work of the committee in the months to come. This issue is of crucial importance to all of us." Chair of the EP industry committee Jerzy Buzek said earlier this week. (1 euro = 1.35 US dollars)

Sources: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
24-25/7/14
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Παρασκευή, Ιουνίου 06, 2014

World Environment Day: Parliament's non-stop fight against climate change

“Raise your voice, not the sea level” is the motto of this year´s World Environment Day, which calls attention to the impact climate change has on small islands. The day is held on 5 June every year to raise awareness and encourage people to act to protect the environment. The European Parliament has been at the forefront of the world´s response to global warming, by adopting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by guiding the EU towards a low-carbon economy.

To combat global warming, the EU and the world have been trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the last year alone, the Parliament has among others passed measures to promote energy-saving, rules to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport, mandatory energy labelling for appliances, as well as tougher standards for fluorinated gases in air-conditioning and freezers.


The Parliament has also supported the development of second generation biofuels and approved plans to freeze the auctioning of some CO2 permits from the European Emissions Trading System scheme in order to encourage low-carbon innovation. MEPs have also backed plans for reducing the use of the most common plastic bags by at least 80% by 2019.

Ambitious and binding climate targets

The Parliament has been calling for even more ambitious and binding climate targets for both the EU and the rest of the world. In February, MEPs called for a 40% cut in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels, a 30% target for renewable energy and a 40% target for energy efficiency by 2030. They have also consistently called on the EU to show greater ambition in the talks for the new global climate change treaty that is expected to be adopted by the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015.
[europarl.europa.eu]
5/6/14

Δευτέρα, Απριλίου 07, 2014

Agriculture MEPs endorse deal with Council on promoting EU farm produce

A deal with the EU Council of Ministers on measures to boost sales of EU farm produce within the EU and abroad and to restore consumer confidence in the event of market disruptions was approved by the Agriculture Committee on Monday.

"This deal will further improve the promotion of EU farm products worldwide. New measures will help EU farmers and the food industry both to boost their sales abroad and to consolidate their position on the EU single market", said Parliament's rapporteur Esther Herranz García (EPP, ES). The agreement was approved by 31 votes to five, with two abstentions.


Following Parliament's lead, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission agreed to allow the promotion of EU farm produce on the EU single market and not just in third countries.

Information campaigns within the EU and in third countries could focus on the high food safety, animal welfare, traceability and sustainability standards that EU producers must meet.

EU contribution increased

Funding for information and promotion campaigns should come exclusively from the EU and the proposing organisation, thus excluding member states from contributing, says the deal.

But to offset a possible lack of funding from producers, the three institutions followed Parliament's lead and enabled the EU to increase its share of funding.

All eligible promotion and information campaigns within the EU and abroad should be entitled to 70% - 80% co-funding, up from the 50% - 60% proposed by the Commission.

In the event of a serious market disruption or loss of consumer confidence, the EU's share should be increased to 85% and could be increased by a further 5 percentage points if the proposing organisation is from a member state in financial difficulty, according to the deal.

Flexible measures to deal with crises

At Parliament's request, the Commission will be allowed to launch prompt campaigns to remedy serious market disturbances and losses of consumer confidence, such as that in 2011, when Spanish cucumbers were wrongly blamed for causing an E.coli outbreak.

Longer list of products covered

The deal also adds beer, chocolate, bread and pastry, pasta, salt, sweet corn, and cotton to the list of products eligible for the full range of EU-supported promotion measures. Fish and aquaculture products may be added to this list provided they are bundled in a promotion or information campaign with other eligible farm products, adds the agreed text.

Parliament also ensured that included wines with a protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI) could qualify for EU support provided promotion campaigns are sponsored by organisations from several member states. For campaigns designed by organisation(s) from a single member state, wine could be added to the list only if bundled with other eligible products.

Next steps

The provisional deal will be debated by the full Parliament at its last Strasbourg plenary session (14 - 17 April) before the European elections. If Parliament votes for it, then it will still need to be formally endorsed by the Council.
 [europarl.europa.eu]
7/4/14

Τετάρτη, Μαρτίου 12, 2014

Cooling without climate warming: Parliament backs F-gas ban

The use of climate-unfriendly fluorinated gases should be banned in new air-conditioning appliances and refrigerators by 2022-2025, under draft rules approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday. These rules had already been informally agreed with EU ministers. Overall, the use of potent hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) greenhouse gases is to be reduced by 79% by 2030.

Following bans on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the 1980s to slow depletion of the ozone layer, the new draft legislation targets use of several other fluorinated gases that are harmful to the climate. "F-gases" can have a greenhouse warming effect up to 23,000 times greater than equivalent amounts of CO2.


"This EU breakthrough sets the pace for a global phase-out of these ‘super greenhouse’ gases, which would otherwise account for 20% greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. F-gas emissions have risen by 60% since 1990 in the EU. Banning their use in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment is therefore urgently necessary to reverse this trend", said lead MEP Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL).

"The EU will reduce F-gas use by almost 80% by 2030. Banning F-gases in new commercial refrigeration equipment from 2022 will spur innovation, to the immediate benefit of many innovative European firms, by stimulating demand for natural refrigerants" he added.

F-gas phase-outs
In negotiations, MEPs amended the Commission proposal to phase out the use of F-gases in several new sectors, where safe, energy-efficient and cost-effective alternatives are available.

The ban would apply to centralised commercial refrigeration equipment with a capacity of 40kw that uses HFCs. Small air-conditioning systems using HFCs with a global warming potential (GWP) more than 750 times that of CO2 will be banned by 2025, and technical aerosols containing HFCs over 150 GWP would be banned from 2018.

Products such as extruded polystyrene and other foams using HFCs would be banned from 2020 and 2023 respectively.

The agreement also strengthened proposed provisions to reduce by-product emissions, and the legislation encourages member states to develop producer responsibility schemes for the recovery of all F-gases.

Next steps
The draft legislation was passed by 644 votes to 19, with 16 abstentions. The Council of Ministers is to vote on the file on 14 April.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/el/news-room/content/20140307IPR38401/
12/3/14
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Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 25, 2014

''Ende gut, alles gut'': Commissioner Hedegaard welcomes agreement on the car emissions target. -European Commission, Statement

The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament's endorsement today of the new target for CO2 emissions from cars. The target of 95g CO2/km in 2021 will further reduce road transport emissions and make a substantial contribution to meeting the EU objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, as set out in the Commission's recent proposal for 2030 targets. 

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: ''Ende gut, alles gut. After long and difficult discussions, I'm glad that a deal was sealed which maintains ambition. This agreement gives the car industry planning certainty to produce more fuel efficient vehicles and saves consumers money. 


The 95g target is achievable by employing technologies available today. But it is clear that long-term clarity is important for the car industry. 

This is why the Commission will now focus on the next step and come up with ideas for a post-2020 target in the coming months'' 

For background information on the agreement on cars emissions, see http://ec.europa.eu/clima/news/articles/news_2014022501_en.htm
europa.eu
25/2/14 
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Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 17, 2014

Right2Water urges privatisation ban in first EU Citizens’ Initiative debate

Organisers of the “Right2Water” campaign urged the EU Commission to guarantee access to water and sanitation as a human right, and give a legal undertaking that water services will not be liberalised in the EU, in the first European Parliament debate on a European Citizens’ Initiative in Parliament on Monday. MEPs shared the view that access to water is a basic human right, but some pointed out that rules on providing drinkable water remain the remit of EU member states.

The hearing, organised by the Environment Committee, in association with Development, Internal Market and Petitions committees, brought together representatives of the “Right2Water” Citizens Committee, MEPs and the European Commission, which will draft a response to the initiative by 20 of March.


“Parliament recognised that water is a shared resource of humankind and a public good and that access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right in its the resolution of 3 July 2012 on the implementation of EU water legislation”, but “We need to do more to foster the participation of all actors of our society to make sure that the protection of water resources and of drinking water in particular is reflected into all our policies” said Environment Committee chair Matthias Groote (S&D, DE).

« We launched this initiative to get it on to the European Commission’s agenda. We wish to reiterate here that water provision and sanitation are essential public services for all » said Right2Water Citizens’ Committee chair Anne-Marie Perret. « It is important that citizens should be able to pay reasonable rates reflecting their needs, not those of distribution company shareholders. Today, they no longer hesitate to cut off the water of families in difficulty », she added.

“A milestone in the history of European democracy”

Hailing the first-ever hearing on a Citizens’ Initiative as “a milestone in the history of European democracy” Gerald Häfner (Greens/EFA, DE), of the Petitions Committee said “Today, we are switching to listening mode. The question now is how we can better legislate on an issue that is crucial. Water is a human right and should remain in public hands”.

« We are living in year one of the citizens’ democracy in Europe » said Corinne Lepage (ALDE, FR). « To listen is good, but to heed is better. The Commission absolutely must heed the ECI. We note its wish to pursue the route of liberalisation, which is not what citizens want”, she added.

« Not something you can shrug off »

« We ask for a clear legislative commitment that water services will not be liberalized in the European Union” said Citizens’ Committee Vice-President Jan Willem Goudriaan. “We shall have a reason to celebrate when the European Commission acts to show that the ECI is not something that you can just shrug off”, he added.      

Water services, public or not: a matter for member states…

«  Water should be accessible and affordable for all.” said MEP Richard Seeber (EPP, AT). “However this is organised, should be left to Member States”, he added.

…but also trade negotiations and “Troika” adjustment measures

Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, DE) agreed that water should not be governed by market rules and voiced concerns that trade negotiations under way between the EU and third countries could lead to liberalisation through the back door.

Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL, EL) stressed the citizens’ opposition to « attempted privatisation » of water distribution in Athens and Thessalonika, among the measures allegedly imposed by the ECB/European Commission/IMF “Troika”.

“Water issues can create or exacerbate conflicts” in the world

“There is a very long way to go before the universal human right to safe water and sanitation will be universally enjoyed” said Michèle Striffler (EPP, FR), of the Development Committee. “Ensuring sustainable access to safe drinking water, as well as basic sanitation for all is, among other things, good conflict prevention policy."

“Citizens have shown a very clear proof that this instrument of participatory democracy works, that they would like to have a direct say and to communicate with EU institutions on how its agenda should be shaped” said European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.
 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/el/news-room/content/20140217IPR36208/html/Right2Water-urges-privatisation-ban-in-first-EU-Citizens%E2%80%99-Initiative-debate
17/2/14
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Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 11, 2014

EU allows cultivation of new US genetically modified corn

BRUSSELS: EU ministers allowed the controversial cultivation of a new genetically modified crop, US firm Pioneer's TC1507 corn, after opponents failed on Tuesday to muster enough support against the move.
A meeting of European Affairs ministers could not establish a majority either way, Greek chairman Evangelos Venizelos said.
Accordingly, TC1507 was allowed through, after Venizelos asked for legal advice.
The rules require that "if the Council (of member states) does not take a decision, then the measure has to be adopted by the European Commission", a legal adviser said.

The Commission, the EU's executive arm, was on the spot after a European Court ruled late last year that the company's 2001 request for approval had to be dealt with without further delay.
Cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms stokes widespread suspicion in the 28-nation EU on health and environmental grounds.
GM crops, however, have won repeated safety approvals and several ministers noted on Tuesday that they are imported into the EU in large amounts, and having been fed to animals, had by now entered the human food chain.
The General Affairs Council of ministers had to decide the issue on Tuesday under what is known as "qualified majority voting".
  • This complex system weighs member states according to their size to ensure that it is a majority of the EU's 500 million population which decides an issue, not the simple number of countries for or against.
  • In this instance, some 19 member states opposed, mustering 210 votes out of a required 260 to block the measure.
Britain, Finland, Estonia, Spain and Sweden were in favour but abstentions proved crucial.
  • Germany, the EU's most powerful and biggest country with 19 votes, changed its position to abstain from against, thereby taking itself out of the balance.
  • Also abstaining were Belgium, Portugal and the Czech Republic with 12 votes each.
France and Hungary led the opposition and the arguments, saying ministers would not be able to easily explain the outcome to the public.

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 16, 2014

Food safety: MEPs oppose authorising new genetically modified maize

The genetically modified maize “Pioneer 1507” should not be placed on the market for cultivation, because its insect-resistant pollen might harm non-target butterflies and moths, says the European Parliament in a resolution passed on Thursday. MEPs call on the EU Council of Ministers to reject its proposed authorisation, and urge the European Commission not to propose or renew authorisations of any GMO variety until risk assessment methods have been improved.


MEPs oppose the placing on the EU market of this genetically modified maize on the grounds that this would exceed the Commission’s implementing powers as laid down in EU rules on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs. In particular, they note that the Commission proposal fails to specify any “conditions for protection of particular ecosystems/environments and/or geographical areas", as required by the legislation.

The resolution was passed by 385 votes to 201 with 30 abstentions.

Adverse effects

In its February 2012 opinion, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) explicitly did not agree with the conclusion cited by Pioneer that there is negligible risk of maize line 1507 to non-target Lepidoptera in the EU, and pointed out that they may be at risk when exposed to its pollen.

Parliament also notes that maize 1507 is resistant to the herbicide glufosinate, and is marketed as such in the United States and Canada. However, the EU classifies glufosinate as toxic to reproduction and will not authorise its use after 2017, it points out.

Background

The last genetically modified crop to be authorised for cultivation in the EU was the Amflora potato, in 2010, but it was withdrawn from the EU market in December 2013, by order of the EU General Court (part of the Court of Justice). The only other GM crop authorised for cultivation in the EU is Monsanto’s MON 810 maize, but the renewal of its authorisation has been pending for years.

Procedure:  non-legislative resolution
europarl.europa.eu
16/1/14
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