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Country-specific recommendations: An overview (September 2019)

11-09-2019

This note provides an overview of the country-specific recommendations issued annually to EU Member States under the European Semester for economic policy coordination. It presents how these recommendations evolved over time (2012-2019), including from the legal base perspective. Finally, it shows how recommendations were implemented over the 2012-2018 European Semester cycles. The note is updated on a regular basis.

This note provides an overview of the country-specific recommendations issued annually to EU Member States under the European Semester for economic policy coordination. It presents how these recommendations evolved over time (2012-2019), including from the legal base perspective. Finally, it shows how recommendations were implemented over the 2012-2018 European Semester cycles. The note is updated on a regular basis.

The legal nature of Country-Specific Recommendations

10-09-2019

The Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) are annually adopted by the Council based on the Commission (COM) proposals within the framework of the European Semester. The CSRs provide integrated guidance on macro-fiscal and macro-structural measures based on the COM assessment of Member States' medium-term budgetary plans and national reform programmes in light of broad policy priorities endorsed by the European Council or adopted by the Council on th basis of the Annual Growth Survey. The Council ...

The Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) are annually adopted by the Council based on the Commission (COM) proposals within the framework of the European Semester. The CSRs provide integrated guidance on macro-fiscal and macro-structural measures based on the COM assessment of Member States' medium-term budgetary plans and national reform programmes in light of broad policy priorities endorsed by the European Council or adopted by the Council on th basis of the Annual Growth Survey. The Council also adopts policy recommendations to the euro area as a whole in accordance with Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) following a COM proposal. Table 1 displays the development of the number of CSRs and the minimum and maximum number per Member State.

Implementation of Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure - State-of-Play (September 2019)

04-09-2019

This note presents the Member States' situation with respect to the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure, taking into account recent assessments and decisions by the European Commission and the Council. It also gives an overview of relevant comments on the MIP published by other institutions. A separate EGOV note describes the MIP procedure. This document is regularly updated.

This note presents the Member States' situation with respect to the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure, taking into account recent assessments and decisions by the European Commission and the Council. It also gives an overview of relevant comments on the MIP published by other institutions. A separate EGOV note describes the MIP procedure. This document is regularly updated.

Violence against women in the EU: State of play

02-09-2019

Violence against women is a violation of human rights and a form of gender-based discrimination. Rooted in inequalities between men and women, it takes many forms. Estimates about the scale of the problem are alarming. Such violence has a major impact on victims and imposes a significant cost burden on society. The instruments put in place by the United Nations and Council of Europe, including the latter’s 'Istanbul Convention', to which the EU plans to accede, are benchmarks in efforts to combat ...

Violence against women is a violation of human rights and a form of gender-based discrimination. Rooted in inequalities between men and women, it takes many forms. Estimates about the scale of the problem are alarming. Such violence has a major impact on victims and imposes a significant cost burden on society. The instruments put in place by the United Nations and Council of Europe, including the latter’s 'Istanbul Convention', to which the EU plans to accede, are benchmarks in efforts to combat violence against women. The EU is tackling the problem in various ways, but has no binding instrument designed specifically to protect women from violence. Although there are similarities between national policies to combat violence against women, the Member States have adopted different approaches to the problem. Parliament's efforts have focused on strengthening EU policy in the area. Parliament has repeatedly called for a European Union strategy to counter violence against women, including a legally binding instrument. Stakeholders have expressed a range of concerns, such as the impact of the current economic climate on the prevalence of violence and funding for prevention and support for victims, and have highlighted the need for a comprehensive EU political framework on eliminating violence against women. They have also launched new initiatives of their own. This is a further update of an earlier briefing by Anna Dimitrova-Stull, of February 2014. The most recent previous edition was from November 2017.

Structural Budget Balances in EU Member States - August 2019

30-08-2019

Structural budget balances play an important role in the fiscal policy frameworks of the EU both as part of the application of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and in the implementation of the balanced budget rule by the contracting parties of the intergovernmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU (the fiscal section of the Treaty is called “Fiscal Compact”). This document provides a short overview of the concept and application of the structural balance rule(s) in ...

Structural budget balances play an important role in the fiscal policy frameworks of the EU both as part of the application of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and in the implementation of the balanced budget rule by the contracting parties of the intergovernmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU (the fiscal section of the Treaty is called “Fiscal Compact”). This document provides a short overview of the concept and application of the structural balance rule(s) in the EU. It will be regularly updated, in particular, the Annex that shows progress made (based on the latest Commission forecast) by Member States in reaching their structural budget commitments under the preventive arm of the SGP.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Promoting equality between women and men

28-06-2019

The European Union (EU) is committed to eliminating inequalities and promoting gender equality 'in all its activities' and has made considerable advances over the years. Nevertheless, the situation remains uneven across the EU, and in recent times progress has slowed, stalled or even regressed in some areas. Yet, the evidence points clearly to the benefits of gender equality for individuals, the economy and society as a whole. Public opinion surveys show that a large majority of Europeans agree that ...

The European Union (EU) is committed to eliminating inequalities and promoting gender equality 'in all its activities' and has made considerable advances over the years. Nevertheless, the situation remains uneven across the EU, and in recent times progress has slowed, stalled or even regressed in some areas. Yet, the evidence points clearly to the benefits of gender equality for individuals, the economy and society as a whole. Public opinion surveys show that a large majority of Europeans agree that promoting gender equality is important for a fair and democratic society, the economy and for them personally and that a growing share of citizens would like the EU to do more in this area. Europeans also expect increased EU action on related policies. During the last legislative term, as part of a broader gender equality programme, the EU institutions have been working on proposals for new EU laws to improve work-life balance and combat violence against women. Promoting equality between women and men will remain one of the major challenges in the coming years. Demographic trends, technological developments and changes to the way we work are just some of the issues where different impacts on women and men will need to be considered. Options for further EU involvement could include better implementation and enforcement of existing legislation, moves to modernise it, fill gaps in protection and address emerging issues, and non-legislative measures such as data collection and monitoring, awareness-raising, and support for national and grassroots initiatives. It will require the political will at all levels to tackle issues across a broad spectrum of policies, together with the provision of the necessary institutions, tools and resources to put that resolve into action. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Health and social security

28-06-2019

While responsibility for health and social security lies primarily with the governments of the individual European Union (EU) Member States, the EU complements national policies, especially those with a cross-border dimension. In a recent poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than two thirds of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on health and social security. EU health policy aims to foster good health, protect citizens from health threats and support dynamic health ...

While responsibility for health and social security lies primarily with the governments of the individual European Union (EU) Member States, the EU complements national policies, especially those with a cross-border dimension. In a recent poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than two thirds of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on health and social security. EU health policy aims to foster good health, protect citizens from health threats and support dynamic health systems. It is mainly implemented through EU action programmes, currently the third health programme (2014-2020). Challenges include tackling the health needs of an ageing population and reducing the incidence of preventable chronic diseases. Since 2014, steps forward have been made in a number of areas, including antimicrobial resistance, childhood obesity, health systems, medical devices and vaccination. EU action on social security issues in the EU is closely related to the implementation of what is known as the European Pillar of Social Rights as well as labour market developments. The EU helps to promote social cohesion, seeking to foster equality as well as solidarity through adequate, accessible and financially sustainable social protection systems and social inclusion policies. EU spending on social security is tied to labour market measures. Progress can be observed on issues such as work-life balance and equal opportunities, but there is more to do. In the future, social protection schemes will need to be further adapted to the new labour market realities (fewer manufacturing jobs, atypical contracts, 'platform work', etc.). In its proposal for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission plans to boost funding to improve workers' employment opportunities, and strengthen social cohesion through an enlarged 'European Social Fund Plus'. The fund would also incorporate finance for the stand-alone health programme, with the aim of creating synergies with the other building blocks of the European Pillar of Social Rights: equal opportunities and access to the labour market; fair working conditions; and social protection and inclusion. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against unemployment

28-06-2019

By promoting a high level of employment, the European Union (EU) has been involved in the fight against unemployment since as long ago as the early 1950s. The issue was brought to the top of the European agenda with the onset of the 2008 economic and financial crisis, and the consequent rise in unemployment rates in all European Union (EU) Member States. In its Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission set a target to get 75 % of 20 to 64 year-olds into employment by 2020. EU labour market conditions ...

By promoting a high level of employment, the European Union (EU) has been involved in the fight against unemployment since as long ago as the early 1950s. The issue was brought to the top of the European agenda with the onset of the 2008 economic and financial crisis, and the consequent rise in unemployment rates in all European Union (EU) Member States. In its Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission set a target to get 75 % of 20 to 64 year-olds into employment by 2020. EU labour market conditions have significantly improved in recent years, and most labour market indicators have strengthened steadily. Since mid-2013, the unemployment rate has continued to decline, and the EU is back to its pre-crisis level (6.5 % in February 2019). Despite the recovery in economic growth and its positive impact on the labour market, the EU still has to face unemployment challenges, particularly concerning differences between Member States, youth unemployment and long-term unemployment. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including to help young people enter the labour market, to combat long-term unemployment, upgrade skills, and facilitate workers' mobility in the European Union. The improvement in labour market indicators has been reflected in citizens' improved evaluation of the EU's involvement in the fight against unemployment, but there is still a very high demand for even more EU intervention in this policy area (76 % of EU citizens). In the future, new or updated legislation relating to employment could modernise work to help in adjustment to a digital world, support sustainable transitions from unemployment into employment and between jobs, increase labour mobility and create closer coordination between economic and social policies. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Energy supply and security

28-06-2019

Energy policy is a competence shared between the EU and its Member States. Whereas the EU has responsibility under the Treaties to ensure security of supply, Member States are responsible for determining the structure of their energy supply and their choice of energy sources. EU legislation on security of supply focuses on natural gas and electricity markets, and is closely related to other EU objectives: consolidating a single energy market, improving energy efficiency, and promoting renewable energy ...

Energy policy is a competence shared between the EU and its Member States. Whereas the EU has responsibility under the Treaties to ensure security of supply, Member States are responsible for determining the structure of their energy supply and their choice of energy sources. EU legislation on security of supply focuses on natural gas and electricity markets, and is closely related to other EU objectives: consolidating a single energy market, improving energy efficiency, and promoting renewable energy sources to decarbonise the economy and meet the Paris Agreement goals. The 2014-2019 legislature saw numerous initiatives in connection with security of supply. The EU institutions reached agreement on a revised regulation on security of gas supply, a revised regulation on security of electricity supply, a revised decision on intergovernmental agreements in the energy field, a targeted revision of the gas directive to apply its key provisions to pipelines with third countries, and also new targets for energy efficiency and renewables by 2030. Parliament also adopted several own-initiative resolutions in the energy field, including one on the new EU strategy on liquefied natural gas and gas storage, which is key to gas supply security. Meanwhile, EU projects of common interest (PCIs) finance energy infrastructure that improves interconnection and supports security of supply. There is growing expectation among EU citizens that the EU will step up its involvement in energy supply and security. Whereas this view was shared by just over half of EU citizens in 2016 (52 %), it is now expressed by roughly two thirds (65 %). The EU will retain a key role in monitoring security of supply throughout the energy transition from the old system of centralised generation dominated by fossil fuels in national markets, towards a new system characterised by a high share of renewables, more localised production and cross-border markets. However, the EU would need to use a special legislative procedure if it wanted to intervene directly in determining the energy supply of its Member States. This procedure requires decision-making by unanimity in Council and only a consultative role for the Parliament. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Public finances in Euro Area Member States: selected indicators - June 2019

28-06-2019

This document presents selected indicators on public finance for the Euro Area Member States and the Euro Area as a whole. For each indicator, it gives a short explanation and the employed sources. A final section provides a summary on how the sustainability of public finances is assessed by the European and other international institutions.

This document presents selected indicators on public finance for the Euro Area Member States and the Euro Area as a whole. For each indicator, it gives a short explanation and the employed sources. A final section provides a summary on how the sustainability of public finances is assessed by the European and other international institutions.

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