Category Archives: Europe

Chart of the day: European organic farming


From Eurostat:

With more than 11 million hectares of certified area or area under conversion in 2015, organic farming made up 6.2% of the European Union’s (EU) total utilised agricultural area (UAA). Since 2010, the area devoted to organic farming has grown by almost two million hectares. Similarly, an upward trend can be observed for the number of registered organic producers. At the end of 2015, 271,500 organic agricultural producers were registered in the EU, an increase of 5.4% compared with 2014.

Among Member States, Spain, Italy, France and Germany registered the largest organic areas as well as the largest numbers of organic producers in 2015, accounting together for over half (52%) of both total EU organic crop area and organic producers in the EU.

Austria, Sweden and Estonia on top for organic farming

The part of agricultural land farmed organically differs widely between EU Member States. The highest share of crop area dedicated to organic farming was registered in Austria, with one fifth (20%, or 552 thousand hectares) of its total agricultural area farmed organically in 2015. It was followed by Sweden (17%, or 519 thousand hectares) and Estonia (16%, or 156 thousand hectares). Alongside these top performers, the Czech Republic (14%, or 478 thousand hectares), Italy (12%, or 1,493 thousand hectares) and Latvia (12%, or 232 thousand hectares) also reported over 10% of agricultural land farmed organically.

In contrast, organic farming was not strongly developed in three Member States with the area under organic farming below 2% of agricultural land: in Malta (0.3 %, or 30 hectares), Ireland (1.6%, or 73 thousand hectares) and Romania (1.8%, or 246 thousand hectares).

It should be noted that the importance of the organic sector is generally lower in regions with plains where more intensive production systems prevail.

Charts of the day: Debt in the European Union

First, from Eurostat, the latest debt-to-GDP ratios for the European Union, with the ration for all 28 nations in blue and for the 18-member common currency [euro] zone in red:


And from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, Greek debt soars again:


More from To Vima:

The Greek statistics authority ELSTAT has published its latest figures of the quarterly non-financial accounts of General Government for the second quarter of 2016, according to which the country’s public debt increased to 315.29 billion euros, from 301.26 billion euros last year.

The quarterly non-financial accounts of General Government provide information on the aggregates constituting General Government revenue (taxes, social contributions, capital transfers, etc) and expenditure (compensation of employees, intermediate consumption, social benefits, interest payments, etc).

First there was Netflix, now there’s Napflix

Not that the new venture is affiliated with the venerable America video streaming and disc rental company.

No, the new and similarly named venture is Spanish, and while Netflix aims to keep your attention riveted to the screen, the European copany aims to do just the opposite.

From The

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more “monotony and repetition.”

Napflix offers about 60 videos taken from YouTube, including footage of rain pattering on windowpanes, a documentary on pandas and quantum physics lectures, to help people doze off.

“The idea is to make entertainment boring,” Victor Gutierrez de Tena, one of Napflix’s two co-founders told AFP on Friday.

“We are looking for monotony and repetition,” the 31-year-old said of the service, which was launched on Monday.

Image of the day: Sweden’s fall colors, from space

From NASA’s Earth Observatory, an astronaut’s-eye view of the fall colors of Sweden, with a jet plane’s contrail visible starting from the upper right corner:


From NASA:

Fall in northern Sweden is a brief but spectacular affair. For a few weeks in October, alpine forests in this remote part of Swedish Lapland turn blazing shades of yellow and orange.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of hilly terrain in northern Lapland on October 10, 2016. Birch forests growing along stream valleys are probably the source of most of the color, though other deciduous shrubs and understory plants surely contribute as well. Some of the hills have a dusting of snow. The southern Sun’s low angle above the horizon draws long, dark shadows across the landscape.

In autumn, the leaves on deciduous trees change colors as they lose chlorophyll, the molecule that plants use to synthesize food. Chlorophyll makes plants appear green because it absorbs red and blue sunlight. It is not a stable compound, and plants have to continuously produce it, a process that requires ample sunlight and warm temperatures. When days shorten and temperatures drop, levels of chlorophyll do as well.

As the green fades, other leaf pigments—carotenoids and anthocyanins—show off their colors. Carotenoids absorb blue-green and blue light, appearing yellow and orange. Anthocyanins absorb blue, blue-green, and green light, appearing red.

In fall displays of color in Scandinavia and northern Europe yellows tends to dominate and reds are rare. In fact, northern Europe has just four tree species that turn red, compared with 89 tree species in North America. In East Asia, the number is 150.

In Lapland, the local name for leaf peeping season is ruska, the time of year when Scandinavians head outdoors to savor nature’s display before the long, dark winter descends.

Chart of the day: Greek industry still staggering

From the Hellenic Statistical Authority:


The numbers, from the report:

The increase of the Overall Turnover Index in Industry by 0.2% in August 2016, compared with the corresponding index in August 2015, was due to the annual changes as following:
By Industrial Sections
  • Mining and quarrying turnover increased by 2.0%.
  • Manufacturing turnover increased by 0.2%.
 In addition, the increase of the Turnover Index in Industry by 0.2% in August 2016, compared with August 2015,was due to the annual changes of the indices of the markets as following:
  • The Turnover Index in Industry for the domestic market increased by 6.6%.ƒ
  • The Turnover Index in Industry for the non-domestic market decreased by 8.7%.
The decrease of the Turnover Index in Industry for the non-domestic market by 8.7% in August 2016, compared with August 2015, was due to the annual changes as following:
  • The Turnover Index in Industry for the Eurozone countries decreased by 21.3%.ƒ
  • The Turnover Index in Industry for the non-Eurozone countries decreased by 1.6%.

Brits posthumously pardon gay sex ‘criminals’

About damn time, though for those dead men who were criminalized and shamed it’s too little and too late.

From the Independent:

Thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted under outdated gross indecency laws are to be posthumously pardoned, the Government has announced, in a “momentous” victory for campaigners.

Announcing what has been dubbed as the ‘Alan Turing law’ justice minister Sam Gyimah said the Government would seek to implement the change through an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill. It will effectively act as an apology to those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships before homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967.

Last month sources close to Theresa May confirmed to The Independent that the Prime Minister was “committed” to introducing the legislation. The Ministry of Justice believes this amendment is the quickest possible way to deliver on the commitment.

It comes after decades of campaigning from the LGBT community and after the family of the enigma codebreaker Alan Turing delivered a petition to Downing Street before the 2015 general election. Public pressure led to the major political parties pledging to introduce the ‘Alan Turing law’ – in memory to the man Winston Churchill described as making “the single biggest contribution to the allied victory” in World War II.

Chart of the day: European Union obesity rates

From Eurostat: