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Current membership of the European Council

10-12-2019

The European Council consists of the 28 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's ...

The European Council consists of the 28 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's membership.

Mercosur: Economic indicators and trade with EU

10-12-2019

Mercosur, the 'southern common market', was founded in 1991 when Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed the Treaty of Asunción. In 2012, Venezuela formally joined Mercosur as a fifth member, but in December 2016 the country was suspended temporarily for failure to transpose Mercosur rules into Venezuelan law. In August 2017, the suspension was prolonged indefinitely. This paper presents economic indicators for the four members, for example showing their GDP and labour market situations, ...

Mercosur, the 'southern common market', was founded in 1991 when Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed the Treaty of Asunción. In 2012, Venezuela formally joined Mercosur as a fifth member, but in December 2016 the country was suspended temporarily for failure to transpose Mercosur rules into Venezuelan law. In August 2017, the suspension was prolonged indefinitely. This paper presents economic indicators for the four members, for example showing their GDP and labour market situations, and it also shows those countries’ relative positions on several indexes that assess the situation in terms of doing business, corruption and human development. Finally, it looks at trade between the EU and Mercosur – of both goods and services – highlighting the main trading partners, and the main products and services that the EU exports to and imports from the four Mercosur members.

Tackling VAT fraud related to e-commerce

10-12-2019

Changes to the value added tax (VAT) regulatory framework for e-commerce introduced the destination principle for cross-border business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. Identification of the online businesses supplying goods and services to customers in other Member States is going to be key when it comes to ensuring compliance with VAT rules and addressing e-commerce VAT fraud. Parliament is due to vote on two Commission proposals in plenary in December.

Changes to the value added tax (VAT) regulatory framework for e-commerce introduced the destination principle for cross-border business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. Identification of the online businesses supplying goods and services to customers in other Member States is going to be key when it comes to ensuring compliance with VAT rules and addressing e-commerce VAT fraud. Parliament is due to vote on two Commission proposals in plenary in December.

EU fisheries agreement with The Gambia

10-12-2019

During its December plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement and implementing protocol with the Republic of The Gambia. The agreement provides an updated framework for bilateral fisheries cooperation, whereas the protocol grants fishing opportunities to EU vessels in Gambian waters and aims to promote a sustainable fisheries policy and the responsible exploitation of fisheries resources in the area.

During its December plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement and implementing protocol with the Republic of The Gambia. The agreement provides an updated framework for bilateral fisheries cooperation, whereas the protocol grants fishing opportunities to EU vessels in Gambian waters and aims to promote a sustainable fisheries policy and the responsible exploitation of fisheries resources in the area.

2019 Sakharov Prize laureate: Ilham Tohti

10-12-2019

Space for freedom of thought is shrinking dramatically across the globe, as the geo-political and geo-economic clout of authoritarian regimes expands. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is therefore more important than ever: it enables the European Parliament to draw attention to the plight of those who stand up against the repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms, principles on which the EU is based and which it promotes in its external relations, in line with Article 21 of the ...

Space for freedom of thought is shrinking dramatically across the globe, as the geo-political and geo-economic clout of authoritarian regimes expands. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is therefore more important than ever: it enables the European Parliament to draw attention to the plight of those who stand up against the repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms, principles on which the EU is based and which it promotes in its external relations, in line with Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union. The 2019 Sakharov Prize laureate is renowned Uyghur economics professor Ilham Tohti, a moderate advocate of the rights of the Uyghur minority and of dialogue with the Han majority in China. In 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on separatism-related charges, against the backdrop of China's hardening policy of countering religious extremism, ethnic separatism and terrorism – one that now frames Uyghur identity as a major national security threat. The Sakharov Prize is a €50 000 award, which will be presented at a ceremony in the European Parliament during the December plenary session in Strasbourg, in the presence of the other finalists.

Election of the European Ombudsman

10-12-2019

In December, the European Parliament is set to elect the European Ombudsman for the new parliamentary term following a public hearing of the candidates by the Committee on Petitions (PETI). Five candidates are running: Giuseppe Fortunato (Italy), Ombudsman of the Campania Region; Julia Laffranque (Estonia), judge at the European Court of Human Rights; Nils Muižnieks (Latvia), former Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe; Emily O'Reilly (Ireland), the incumbent Ombudsman (since 2014 ...

In December, the European Parliament is set to elect the European Ombudsman for the new parliamentary term following a public hearing of the candidates by the Committee on Petitions (PETI). Five candidates are running: Giuseppe Fortunato (Italy), Ombudsman of the Campania Region; Julia Laffranque (Estonia), judge at the European Court of Human Rights; Nils Muižnieks (Latvia), former Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe; Emily O'Reilly (Ireland), the incumbent Ombudsman (since 2014); and Cecilia Wikström (Sweden), former MEP and Chair of the PETI committee.

Stability of EU farmer income support post 2020

10-12-2019

EU farmer income support benefits millions of farmers across Europe every year. The existing legal basis for this support covers the years 2014 to 2020. Delays in the negotiating process on both the EU budget and farm policy for 2021 2027 necessitate adoption of transitional provisions to ensure the continuation of the current rules. The Parliament is due to vote on a Commission proposal on these issues during its December plenary session.

EU farmer income support benefits millions of farmers across Europe every year. The existing legal basis for this support covers the years 2014 to 2020. Delays in the negotiating process on both the EU budget and farm policy for 2021 2027 necessitate adoption of transitional provisions to ensure the continuation of the current rules. The Parliament is due to vote on a Commission proposal on these issues during its December plenary session.

European Green Deal

06-12-2019

The European Green Deal is a programme outlined in the political guidelines of the incoming President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. It aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, while boosting the competitiveness of European industry and ensuring a just transition for the regions and workers affected. Preserving Europe's natural environment and biodiversity, a 'farm to fork' strategy for sustainable food, and a new circular economy action plan are other key ...

The European Green Deal is a programme outlined in the political guidelines of the incoming President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. It aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, while boosting the competitiveness of European industry and ensuring a just transition for the regions and workers affected. Preserving Europe's natural environment and biodiversity, a 'farm to fork' strategy for sustainable food, and a new circular economy action plan are other key elements. Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans will be in charge of leading and coordinating the work on the European Green Deal. A Commission communication on the matter is expected on 11 December, ahead of the next European Council meeting, starting the following day. The European Parliament has scheduled a debate on the European Green Deal in an extraordinary plenary session on 11 December 2019.

The sharp power of knowledge: Foreign authoritarian meddling in academia

06-12-2019

The visibility of, and focus on, authoritarian hybrid threats – a mix of conventional and non-conventional hostile activities to undermine democracies – is increasing. Techniques and technologies keep evolving, and a growing number of authoritarian actors are adopting and adapting different tools to further their agendas. In this context, 'soft power' exerted through academic institutions and universities can become a 'sharp' hybrid tool, undermining academic independence and further eroding trust ...

The visibility of, and focus on, authoritarian hybrid threats – a mix of conventional and non-conventional hostile activities to undermine democracies – is increasing. Techniques and technologies keep evolving, and a growing number of authoritarian actors are adopting and adapting different tools to further their agendas. In this context, 'soft power' exerted through academic institutions and universities can become a 'sharp' hybrid tool, undermining academic independence and further eroding trust in facts and science.

China: Economic indicators and trade with EU

03-12-2019

China's economy is slowing from past two-digit growth rates to a 'new normal' growth rate of 'only' 6.5% on average under the current five-year plan (2016-2020). To what extent does this slowdown affect China's public finances and other macroeconomic indicators? How has EU trade with China developed during the last decade? How important is the EU for China in terms of trade? And what about China's trade relevance for the EU? Has the huge trade imbalance in goods trade between China and the EU narrowed ...

China's economy is slowing from past two-digit growth rates to a 'new normal' growth rate of 'only' 6.5% on average under the current five-year plan (2016-2020). To what extent does this slowdown affect China's public finances and other macroeconomic indicators? How has EU trade with China developed during the last decade? How important is the EU for China in terms of trade? And what about China's trade relevance for the EU? Has the huge trade imbalance in goods trade between China and the EU narrowed in recent years? How intensive is trade in services between the EU and China? What are the EU's main export items to China? How does China's export basket look like? You can find the answers to these and other questions in our EPRS publication on China produced in collaboration with the European University Institute's GlobalStat on the world's main economies. This is an updated edition of an ‘At a Glance’ note published in October 2018.

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