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Posted on 20-09-2019

Climate change [What Think Tanks are thinking]

20-09-2019

The United Nations’ Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, will convene a special summit on climate change on 23 September, during the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The meeting, entitled ‘Climate Action Summit 2019: A race we can win, a race we must win’, is meant to encourage world leaders to do more to limit emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Guterres has said the meeting will seek to challenge states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens ...

The United Nations’ Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, will convene a special summit on climate change on 23 September, during the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The meeting, entitled ‘Climate Action Summit 2019: A race we can win, a race we must win’, is meant to encourage world leaders to do more to limit emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Guterres has said the meeting will seek to challenge states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens to step up action in the areas of energy transition, climate finance and carbon pricing, industry transition and nature-based solutions. This note offers links to a series of recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on climate change and ways to mitigate it. Earlier reports on trade can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' published in April 2019.

The European Systemic Risk Board – Main features, mandate and accountability

19-09-2019

This briefing provides an overview of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), its’ main features, mandate and accountability. It also includes the overview of recent review of the ESRB mission, mandate and organisation as part of the review of European System of Financial Supervision.

This briefing provides an overview of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), its’ main features, mandate and accountability. It also includes the overview of recent review of the ESRB mission, mandate and organisation as part of the review of European System of Financial Supervision.

The European Systemic Risk Board – systemic risk update, stress tests and work in progres

20-09-2019

This note is prepared in view of a regular public hearing with the Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), Mario Draghi, which will take place on 23 September 2019. The briefing provides an overview of recent actions by the ESRB, such as systemic risks identified, input for recent stress testing exercise, and assessment of compliance with public ESRB recommendations.

This note is prepared in view of a regular public hearing with the Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), Mario Draghi, which will take place on 23 September 2019. The briefing provides an overview of recent actions by the ESRB, such as systemic risks identified, input for recent stress testing exercise, and assessment of compliance with public ESRB recommendations.

Posted on 19-09-2019

Europol: The EU law enforcement cooperation agency

19-09-2019

Evolving from informal police cooperation in the 1970s to a fully fledged European Union (EU) agency with a strengthened mandate under its new legal basis (Regulation (EU) 2016/794), Europol's mandate is to strengthen EU Member States' competent authorities and ensure their cooperation for the purpose of 'preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy'. The agency is therefore empowered ...

Evolving from informal police cooperation in the 1970s to a fully fledged European Union (EU) agency with a strengthened mandate under its new legal basis (Regulation (EU) 2016/794), Europol's mandate is to strengthen EU Member States' competent authorities and ensure their cooperation for the purpose of 'preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy'. The agency is therefore empowered to tackle more than 30 forms of serious crime and related criminal offences, including terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking in arms and ammunition. To fulfil its objectives, Europol carries out a series of tasks, including the core activities of performing as the EU criminal information exchange hub and providing operational support and expertise to Member States' criminal investigations. To frame Europol's activities, the Europol Regulation strengthens its data management and data protection rules and provides for enhanced scrutiny: political scrutiny – by a new parliamentary oversight body made up of representatives of the European Parliament and Member States' national parliaments; and scrutiny of its data processing operations – by the European Data Protection Supervisor. Furthermore, the Regulation reforms the framework for Europol's cooperation with partners such as third countries and international organisations, which also allows for an increased role for the Commission and the European Parliament. On the occasion of Europol's 20th anniversary, this briefing provides a timeline of the agency's establishment and consolidation; an overview of its competences, structure and functioning under the current legal framework; as well as some elements related to further developments.

EU guidelines on ethics in artificial intelligence: Context and implementation

19-09-2019

The discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and their impact on society is increasingly focused on the question of whether AI should be regulated. Following the call from the European Parliament to update and complement the existing Union legal framework with guiding ethical principles, the EU has carved out a 'human-centric' approach to AI that is respectful of European values and principles. As part of this approach, the EU published its guidelines on ethics in AI in April 2019 ...

The discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and their impact on society is increasingly focused on the question of whether AI should be regulated. Following the call from the European Parliament to update and complement the existing Union legal framework with guiding ethical principles, the EU has carved out a 'human-centric' approach to AI that is respectful of European values and principles. As part of this approach, the EU published its guidelines on ethics in AI in April 2019, and European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that the Commission will soon put forward further legislative proposals for a coordinated European approach to the human and ethical implications of AI. Against this background, this paper aims to shed some light on the ethical rules that are now recommended when designing, developing, deploying, implementing or using AI products and services in the EU. Moreover, it identifies some implementation challenges and presents possible further EU action ranging from soft law guidance to standardisation to legislation in the field of ethics and AI. There are calls for clarifying the EU guidelines, fostering the adoption of ethical standards and adopting legally binding instruments to, inter alia, set common rules on transparency and common requirements for fundamental rights impact assessments, and to provide an adequate legal framework for face recognition technology. Finally, the paper gives an overview of the main ethical frameworks for AI under development in countries such as the United States and China.

Posted on 17-09-2019

Consumers and repair of products

17-09-2019

Repairing broken or damaged products can save consumers money by helping them postpone making replacement purchases, while also bringing benefits to the environment through lower waste production and use of resources. The EU's circular economy strategy considers maintenance and repair to be important ways of both keeping resources from being thrown away and of prolonging the lifespan of products. A 2018 European Commission behavioural study on consumer engagement in the circular economy showed that ...

Repairing broken or damaged products can save consumers money by helping them postpone making replacement purchases, while also bringing benefits to the environment through lower waste production and use of resources. The EU's circular economy strategy considers maintenance and repair to be important ways of both keeping resources from being thrown away and of prolonging the lifespan of products. A 2018 European Commission behavioural study on consumer engagement in the circular economy showed that 64 % of consumers always repair broken or damaged products. The top reason for not repairing products was the high price of repair, followed by the preference to get a new product and the feeling that the old product was obsolete or out of fashion. As for repairers, especially independent ones, they often complain about having no access to original spare parts, technical information, diagnostic software and training, as manufacturers sometimes limit these to their own after-sales services or to recognised repairers of a specific brand. EU consumer legislation regulates the right of consumers to have products repaired within the legal guarantee period, but not beyond its expiry or for defects not covered by the guarantee. Efforts to ensure access to repair are also included in EU environmental and product legislation. The upcoming ecodesign requirements for TV screens, refrigerators, lighting, household washing machines and dishwashers are expected to ensure that independent repairers have access to spare parts and repair information. The European Parliament has called for extending the ecodesign requirements to non-energy related products, including the reparability of products, more systematically in ecodesign legislation, and extending the duration of legal guarantees. Similar calls have come from a range of stakeholders.

Women in foreign affairs and international security: Contours of a timely debate

17-09-2019

The debate on the participation and role of women in foreign affairs and international security is a timely and relevant one, and is being raised with increasing frequency at both national and international levels. In particular, there is growing attention to the imbalances in the representation of women in leadership and other key positions in the area of foreign and security policy, as well as to the growing body of evidence regarding the positive effect of including women in several key areas ...

The debate on the participation and role of women in foreign affairs and international security is a timely and relevant one, and is being raised with increasing frequency at both national and international levels. In particular, there is growing attention to the imbalances in the representation of women in leadership and other key positions in the area of foreign and security policy, as well as to the growing body of evidence regarding the positive effect of including women in several key areas of foreign and security policy. Among these issues, women's role in peacekeeping receives particular attention, as research has repeatedly shown that gender equality contributes to peace, and that peace negotiations involving women have a better chance of being sustainable and effective. Gender-equal societies enjoy better health, stronger economic growth and higher security. The United Nations and the EU have put pronounced emphasis on the issue in the past two decades. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 established the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in 2000. Since then, more WPS-related resolutions have been adopted, widening the scope and breadth of gendered peace and security. These resolutions have been instrumental in changing the philosophy and rhetoric focused on conflict and gender equality, thereby challenging the international community to do more. Several initiatives are also being implemented at EU level, including through the 2018 EU Strategic Approach to WPS. However, critics posit that a lot remains to be done, as women continue to be under-represented in the field of foreign and security policy across the world.

Posted on 13-09-2019

International trade [What Think Tanks are thinking]

13-09-2019

The escalating trade conflict between the United States (US) and China has dampened economic growth in the European Union and other regions of the world, analysts say, and poses a further question mark over the continuity of the post-Cold War rules-based order. The EU is seeking to position itself as a defender of the multilateral rules-based system in the context of growing economic nationalism. The EU will need to coordinate closely its trade and climate policies, and think clearly about how best ...

The escalating trade conflict between the United States (US) and China has dampened economic growth in the European Union and other regions of the world, analysts say, and poses a further question mark over the continuity of the post-Cold War rules-based order. The EU is seeking to position itself as a defender of the multilateral rules-based system in the context of growing economic nationalism. The EU will need to coordinate closely its trade and climate policies, and think clearly about how best to defend its economic interests in the challenging new geopolitical environment facing the incoming European Commission. This note offers links to a series of recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on international trade policy. More reports on trade can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' published in June 2018.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit and the Climate Action Summit, New York, 23-25 September 2019

12-09-2019

The United Nations (UN) High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in 24-25 September 2019 is a one-and-a-halfday event that for the first time since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) takes place under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (GA). This special event, called the SDG Summit, will be a litmus test for the 2030 Agenda. Ending a four-year review cycle of all 17 SDGs, the Summit will enable a first assessment of the progress achieved so far and the challenges ahead. So far ...

The United Nations (UN) High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in 24-25 September 2019 is a one-and-a-halfday event that for the first time since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) takes place under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (GA). This special event, called the SDG Summit, will be a litmus test for the 2030 Agenda. Ending a four-year review cycle of all 17 SDGs, the Summit will enable a first assessment of the progress achieved so far and the challenges ahead. So far, there has been a lack of political leadership and guidance at the international level.

External author

Elisabeth HEGE, David LEVAÏ (IDDRI)

Posted on 06-09-2019

EU challenges at a time of transition [What Think Tanks are thinking]

06-09-2019

The European Union faces numerous challenges, both short and long-term, as it prepares to choose the new executive, a European Commission for the next five years, following elections to the European Parliament in May 2019. The most immediate task is for European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, to put together a college of Commissioners and secure its approval by the European Parliament. The EU is also engaged in difficult talks on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from ...

The European Union faces numerous challenges, both short and long-term, as it prepares to choose the new executive, a European Commission for the next five years, following elections to the European Parliament in May 2019. The most immediate task is for European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, to put together a college of Commissioners and secure its approval by the European Parliament. The EU is also engaged in difficult talks on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, currently due on 31 October. On the economic front, the EU needs to deal with the fallout of a trade conflict between the United States and China, and to boost its competitiveness, as the two other global powerhouses swiftly pursue the digitalisation of their economies. In the face of political volatility in the US, Europe should also consider enhancing its defence capabilities. Last, but not least, the Union must deliver on its pledge to remain the world’s leader in efforts to fight climate change. This note brings together recent commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on challenges facing the EU. More papers analysing the outcome of the European Elections can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’, published in July.

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