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Digital challenges for Europe [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-10-2019

The rapid development of digital technologies is posing a challenge to the European Union, spurring initiatives to catch up with the US and China in the area, notably in the context of the digital single market. Among the dilemmas are how to reconcile Europe’s sensitivity towards protecting private data with the need to use them in many algorithms, and ensure that automation and artificial intelligence strengthen rather than weaken labour market participation. This note offers links to a series of ...

The rapid development of digital technologies is posing a challenge to the European Union, spurring initiatives to catch up with the US and China in the area, notably in the context of the digital single market. Among the dilemmas are how to reconcile Europe’s sensitivity towards protecting private data with the need to use them in many algorithms, and ensure that automation and artificial intelligence strengthen rather than weaken labour market participation. This note offers links to a series of some recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on digital challenges. Many earlier papers on the issue can be found in a previous item in the series, published in July 2018. Many reports on cybersecurity are available in a publication from October 2018.

Outlook for the European Council (Article 50) meeting on 17 October 2019

16-10-2019

The October European Council meeting will represent an important point on the timeline of negotiations on United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU as leaders will be taking stock of the situation before the end of the extension period on 31 October 2019. This briefing provides an overview of European Council guidelines and decisions taken to provide direction to the negotiations since the UK’s formal notification of withdrawal on 29 March 2017.

The October European Council meeting will represent an important point on the timeline of negotiations on United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU as leaders will be taking stock of the situation before the end of the extension period on 31 October 2019. This briefing provides an overview of European Council guidelines and decisions taken to provide direction to the negotiations since the UK’s formal notification of withdrawal on 29 March 2017.

European Council conclusions:A rolling check-list of commitments to date

16-10-2019

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview of European Council conclusions is the latest edition of the Rolling Check-List which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It is designed to review the degree of progress in achieving the goals that the European Council has set itself and to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in this field.

Key issues in the European Council - State of play in October 2019

16-10-2019

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

CAP Amending Regulation (CMO): Amending regulations on the CMO for agricultural products, quality schemes and measures for remote regions

10-10-2019

On 1 July 2018, as part of the work on the EU's 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission proposed a package of three regulations with the aim of reshaping and modernising the common agricultural policy (CAP). One of these proposals, the Amending Regulation, introduces changes to rules governing the common market organisation (CMO) in agricultural products (including the rules on wine), the EU quality schemes (geographical indications) and the support measures for remote ...

On 1 July 2018, as part of the work on the EU's 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission proposed a package of three regulations with the aim of reshaping and modernising the common agricultural policy (CAP). One of these proposals, the Amending Regulation, introduces changes to rules governing the common market organisation (CMO) in agricultural products (including the rules on wine), the EU quality schemes (geographical indications) and the support measures for remote regions. The aim is to equip agricultural markets and support measures to face new challenges, update provisions, simplify procedures and ensure consistency with other regulations on the future CAP.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Margrethe Vestager – Vice-President: A Europe fit for the digital age

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Sylvie Goulard - Internal Market

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation

24-07-2019

In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchains and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Whereas, the GDPR is based on an underlying assumption that in relation to each personal data point there is at least one the data controller, blockchains make the allocation of responsibility and accountability burdensome. Further, although the GDPR is based on the assumption that data can ...

In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchains and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Whereas, the GDPR is based on an underlying assumption that in relation to each personal data point there is at least one the data controller, blockchains make the allocation of responsibility and accountability burdensome. Further, although the GDPR is based on the assumption that data can be modified or erased where necessary to comply with legal requirements, blockchains, however, render the unilateral modification of data purposefully onerous in order to ensure data integrity and to increase trust in the network.

External author

This study was written by Dr Michèle Finck

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Digital transformation

28-06-2019

A digital revolution is transforming the world as we know it at unprecedented speed. Digital technologies have changed the way businesses operate, how people connect and exchange information, and how they interact with the public and private sectors. European businesses and citizens alike need an adequate policy framework and appropriate skills and infrastructures to capture the enormous value created by the digital economy and make a success of digital transformation. The European Union plays an ...

A digital revolution is transforming the world as we know it at unprecedented speed. Digital technologies have changed the way businesses operate, how people connect and exchange information, and how they interact with the public and private sectors. European businesses and citizens alike need an adequate policy framework and appropriate skills and infrastructures to capture the enormous value created by the digital economy and make a success of digital transformation. The European Union plays an active role in shaping the digital economy, with cross-policy initiatives that range from boosting investment to reforming EU laws, to non-legislative actions to improve Member States' coordination and exchange of best practices. The 2014-2019 parliamentary term has seen a number of initiatives in the areas of digitalisation of industry and public services, investment in digital infrastructure and services, research programmes, cybersecurity, e-commerce, copyright and data protection legislation. There is a growing awareness among EU citizens that digital technologies play an important role in their everyday lives. In a 2017 survey, two-thirds of Europeans said that these technologies have a positive impact on society, the economy and their own lives. However, they also bring new challenges. A majority of respondents felt that the EU, Member States' authorities and companies need to take action to address the impacts of these technologies. The European Union will increase its support for digital transformation in the coming years, as illustrated by the recent proposal for the Digital Europe programme (for 2021-2027) – which would be the first ever funding programme dedicated solely to supporting digital transformation in the EU. Further EU action will doubtless be needed, notably to increase infrastructure investment, boost innovation, foster digital champions and businesses digitalisation, reduce existing digital divides, remove remaining barriers in the digital single market and ensure an adequate legal and regulatory framework in the areas of advanced computing and data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. The European Parliament, as co-legislator, is closely involved in shaping the policy framework that will help citizens and businesses fully exploit the potential of digital technologies. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU fertilising products

26-06-2019

Fertilising products are used to improve plant growth, mainly in agriculture, enabling higher crop yields. However, they are associated with some challenges as regards security of supply, the environment and health. Although the 2003 Fertilisers Regulation, which aimed at ensuring an internal market in fertilisers, has been effective, it mainly addresses mineral fertilisers and deters the introduction of new types of fertilisers. In March 2016, the Commission put forward a legislative proposal on ...

Fertilising products are used to improve plant growth, mainly in agriculture, enabling higher crop yields. However, they are associated with some challenges as regards security of supply, the environment and health. Although the 2003 Fertilisers Regulation, which aimed at ensuring an internal market in fertilisers, has been effective, it mainly addresses mineral fertilisers and deters the introduction of new types of fertilisers. In March 2016, the Commission put forward a legislative proposal on fertilising products, as announced in the circular economy action plan. The proposal modernises the conformity assessment and market surveillance in line with the ‘new legislative framework’ for product legislation, covers a wider range of fertilising products (including those manufactured from secondary raw materials), and sets limits for the presence of heavy metals and contaminants in fertilising products. After completion of the legislative procedure, the final act was signed on 5 June 2019. The regulation will apply in full from 16 July 2022. Fifth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Didier Bourguignon. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Upcoming events

05-11-2019
The Art and Craft of Political Speech-writing: A conversation with Eric Schnure
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06-11-2019
Where next for the global and European economies? The 2019 IMF Economic Outlook
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EPRS
06-11-2019
EPRS Annual Lecture: Clash of Cultures: Transnational governance in post-war Europe
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EPRS

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