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Is data the new oil? Competition issues in the digital economy

08-01-2020

The global debate on the extent to which current competition policy rules are sufficient to deal with the fast-moving digital economy has never been more pertinent. An important part of this debate concerns the market power of large high-tech companies that dominate many online markets. The main factors behind these developments are economies of scale and scope, network externalities, and the rising economic significance of data, which are a highly valuable commodity in an online economy. While being ...

The global debate on the extent to which current competition policy rules are sufficient to deal with the fast-moving digital economy has never been more pertinent. An important part of this debate concerns the market power of large high-tech companies that dominate many online markets. The main factors behind these developments are economies of scale and scope, network externalities, and the rising economic significance of data, which are a highly valuable commodity in an online economy. While being indispensable to the development of potential game changers – such as artificial intelligence – data are also a crucial input to many online services, production processes, and logistics – making it a critical element in the value chain of many different industries. Data-dependent markets are also characterised by a high level of concentration and, according to many experts, high entry barriers relating to access to and ownership of data – which make it difficult to challenge the incumbent companies. On the other hand, the large players are generally considered to be very productive and innovative. Some studies, however, show that the diffusion of know-how and innovation between the market leaders and the rest of the economy may be affecting competiveness in general. One possible way to correct these shortcomings is to regulate the sharing of data. While the risks of policy-making in this field are generally well-known and centre around the need to protect privacy – particularly where personal data are involved – and to prevent the collusive aspects of data sharing, there is currently no global model to follow. The European Union has taken multiple initiatives to unlock data markets through modern, user-centred laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the regulation on the reuse of public sector information. The global thinking seems to gradually favour more prudent oversight of the market, considering its economic heft.

EU industrial policy at the crossroads: Current state of affairs, challenges and way forward

02-12-2019

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry ...

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry while maintaining its global competitiveness. It also prompts a reconsideration of the EU's strategic positioning from a defensive to an offensive policy stance. These developments have triggered a lively debate on the need for a renewed, more assertive, comprehensive and coordinated industrial policy at EU level. This paper reviews the current state of affairs and key challenges facing the EU and provides an analysis of the main policy options going forward.

EU competition policy: Key to a fair single market

30-10-2019

Competition policy has been found to make a positive contribution to the EU's economic growth and the EU has one of the most robust competition policy systems in the world. European competition policy encompasses many fields, not least antitrust measures, merger control and State aid. It is enforced by the European Commission, whose decisions can be contested in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Recent policy developments include the antitrust damages system and the framework empowering ...

Competition policy has been found to make a positive contribution to the EU's economic growth and the EU has one of the most robust competition policy systems in the world. European competition policy encompasses many fields, not least antitrust measures, merger control and State aid. It is enforced by the European Commission, whose decisions can be contested in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Recent policy developments include the antitrust damages system and the framework empowering national competition authorities. Topics discussed in this paper include the role of competition policy in the digital era, merger control, instruments such as the leniency programme, commitments and settlements, and the potential impact of current political developments.

A decade on from the financial crisis: Key data

17-10-2019

The financial crisis began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, starting a worldwide chain reaction. The EU economy contracted for five consecutive quarters, with growth returning only in the second half of 2009. Stimulatory and fiscal actions by national governments and the EU, and the Eurosystem's loose monetary policy, helped achieve recovery. It was short-lived, however, as in 2010 a sovereign debt crisis resulted from a loss of financial market confidence, with soaring public debt. Yields on ...

The financial crisis began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, starting a worldwide chain reaction. The EU economy contracted for five consecutive quarters, with growth returning only in the second half of 2009. Stimulatory and fiscal actions by national governments and the EU, and the Eurosystem's loose monetary policy, helped achieve recovery. It was short-lived, however, as in 2010 a sovereign debt crisis resulted from a loss of financial market confidence, with soaring public debt. Yields on government bonds, particularly in the periphery countries, rose dramatically. Ad hoc rescue devices, such as the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, brought the situation under control, later supported by the pledge of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to do 'whatever it takes' to save the euro. The acute phase of the crisis ended in 2014, followed by a period of extremely low inflation and weak growth. To boost inflation, facilitate bank lending and stimulate the economy, the Eurosystem relied increasingly on quantitative easing. While 2017 was the EU's best year since the crises, with economic performance returning to pre-crisis levels, recent data suggest that the momentum is weakening, both in and outside the EU.

A decade on from the crisis: Main responses and remaining challenges

17-10-2019

It has been a decade since the financial crisis erupted and changed the world in 2008. Few at the time guessed what would be its magnitude and long-term consequences. The interconnectedness of the economy and the financial sector facilitated the spread of the crisis from the United States to Europe. First, the EU faced the Great Recession in the 2008-2009 period and then, after a short recovery, several Member States succumbed to the sovereign debt crisis. The combined crises had catastrophic consequences ...

It has been a decade since the financial crisis erupted and changed the world in 2008. Few at the time guessed what would be its magnitude and long-term consequences. The interconnectedness of the economy and the financial sector facilitated the spread of the crisis from the United States to Europe. First, the EU faced the Great Recession in the 2008-2009 period and then, after a short recovery, several Member States succumbed to the sovereign debt crisis. The combined crises had catastrophic consequences for economic growth, investment, employment and the fiscal position of many Member States. The EU engaged in short-term 'fire-fighting' measures such as bailouts to save banks and help stressed sovereigns, while at the same time reforming the inadequate framework. While signs of moderate recovery showed in 2014, the risk of falling into deflation or secular stagnation remained high, and it was only in 2017 that the EU economy returned to a state similar to that of before the crisis. The signs in 2019 are not so promising however. Many efforts have been made to improve resilience in the EU and the euro area. These have included improving the stability of the financial sector, strengthening economic governance, creating a safety net for sovereigns in distress and carrying out structural reforms, particularly in the countries most affected. In addition, the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken unconventional policy measures. Nonetheless many argue that the pace of the reforms has slowed down considerably since 2013 when the economic situation began to improve. The legacy of the crisis is still present and many challenges persist. These include the absence of a clear and agreed vision for the future of economic and monetary union (EMU), perennial macroeconomic imbalances and high public deficits in a number of Member States, and the ongoing risk of a doom loop between sovereigns and the banking sector. Post crisis vulnerabilities also include rising inequalities, youth unemployment and high in-work poverty risk levels. See also our infographic, A decade on from the financial crisis: Key data, PE 640.145.

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.

Economic impacts of artificial intelligence (AI)

01-07-2019

Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in our lives and economy and is already having an impact on our world in many different ways. Worldwide competition to reap its benefits is fierce, and global leaders – the US and Asia – have emerged on the scene. AI is seen by many as an engine of productivity and economic growth. It can increase the efficiency with which things are done and vastly improve the decision-making process by analysing large amounts of data. It can also spawn ...

Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in our lives and economy and is already having an impact on our world in many different ways. Worldwide competition to reap its benefits is fierce, and global leaders – the US and Asia – have emerged on the scene. AI is seen by many as an engine of productivity and economic growth. It can increase the efficiency with which things are done and vastly improve the decision-making process by analysing large amounts of data. It can also spawn the creation of new products and services, markets and industries, thereby boosting consumer demand and generating new revenue streams. However, AI may also have a highly disruptive effect on the economy and society. Some warn that it could lead to the creation of super firms – hubs of wealth and knowledge – that could have detrimental effects on the wider economy. It may also widen the gap between developed and developing countries, and boost the need for workers with certain skills while rendering others redundant; this latter trend could have far-reaching consequences for the labour market. Experts also warn of its potential to increase inequality, push down wages and shrink the tax base. While these concerns remain valid, there is no consensus on whether and to what extent the related risks will materialise. They are not a given, and carefully designed policy would be able to foster the development of AI while keeping the negative effects in check. The EU has a potential to improve its standing in global competition and direct AI onto a path that benefits its economy and citizens. In order to achieve this, it first needs to agree a common strategy that would utilise its strengths and enable the pooling of Member States' resources in the most effective way.

Politische Maßnahmen der EU im Interesse der Bürger: Industriepolitik

28-06-2019

Die Europäische Union (EU) ist seit 1992 bestrebt, durch ihre Industriepolitik günstige Bedingungen für die Wachstumssteigerung und Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Industrie zu schaffen. Nach wie vor bildet die Industrie einen Eckpfeiler der europäischen Wirtschaft, stellt jeden fünften Arbeitsplatz und zeichnet für den Großteil der EU-Ausfuhren und Investitionen in Forschung und Innovation verantwortlich. Inzwischen lautet das Ziel der EU-Politik, einen erfolgreichen Übergang zu einer digitalen, wissensbasierten ...

Die Europäische Union (EU) ist seit 1992 bestrebt, durch ihre Industriepolitik günstige Bedingungen für die Wachstumssteigerung und Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Industrie zu schaffen. Nach wie vor bildet die Industrie einen Eckpfeiler der europäischen Wirtschaft, stellt jeden fünften Arbeitsplatz und zeichnet für den Großteil der EU-Ausfuhren und Investitionen in Forschung und Innovation verantwortlich. Inzwischen lautet das Ziel der EU-Politik, einen erfolgreichen Übergang zu einer digitalen, wissensbasierten, CO2-armen und stärker kreislauforientierten Industrie in Europa zu ermöglichen. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, unterstützt, koordiniert und ergänzt die EU die auf einzelstaatlicher Ebene ergriffene Politik und Maßnahmen, insbesondere in den Bereichen Forschung und Innovation, KMU und digitale Technologien. In einer im Auftrag des Europäischen Parlaments durchgeführten Eurobarometer-Umfrage hat sich über die Hälfte der Unionsbürger für eine Ausweitung des industriepolitischen Engagements der EU ausgesprochen. Dennoch stellt die Industriepolitik nach wie vor den am wenigsten verstandenen Politikbereich der Umfrage dar. Seit 2014 wurden in zahlreichen Bereichen Anstrengungen unternommen. Zu den unterstützten Bereichen zählen Investitionen (hauptsächlich über den Europäischen Fonds für strategische Investitionen, mit dem die Modernisierung der Industrie gefördert wird), Digitalisierung (u. a. Aufbau einer Reihe von Forschungspartnerschaften oder eines wachsenden Netzwerks digitaler Innovationszentren), Finanzierung (Erleichterung des Zugangs zu öffentlichen Märkten und Risikokapital für Industrie und KMU), umweltfreundlichere Industrie (z. B. durch die überarbeiteten Emissionsziele 2030 oder Maßnahmen zur Förderung sauberer Mobilitätslösungen), Standardisierung (Zusammenführung relevanter Interessenträger zur gemeinsamen Ausarbeitung und Aktualisierung europäischer Normen) und Qualifikationen (Mobilisierung der wichtigsten Interessenträger, um die Qualifikationslücke zu schließen und geeignete Arbeitskräfte für die moderne Industrie auszubilden). Das Europäische Parlament hat sich für eine ambitionierte Politik in vielen dieser Bereiche ausgesprochen. Für die Zukunft wird mit einem moderaten Anstieg der EU-Ausgaben für wichtige, industriepolitisch relevante Bereiche gerechnet. Die Europäische Kommission schlägt vor, den Anteil an Unionsausgaben für Forschung, KMU und wichtige Infrastrukturen zu erhöhen, wenn auch nicht so stark, wie vom Parlament gefordert. In den nächsten Jahren wird der politische Schwerpunkt voraussichtlich auf einen gerechteren globalen Wettbewerb, die Förderung von Innovationen, den Aufbau digitaler Kapazitäten und die Steigerung der Nachhaltigkeit der europäischen Industrie gelegt. Dies ist die aktualisierte Fassung eines Briefings, das vor der Europawahl 2019 veröffentlicht wurde.

Mutual recognition of goods

25-04-2019

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product ...

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product rules at the EU level or, where there are no harmonised rules, the principle of mutual recognition under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. The proposal addressed a number of shortcomings in the application of the mutual recognition principle. A provisional agreement between the co-legislators was reached on 22 November 2018. The text was adopted in plenary in February 2019. The new rules will improve collaboration among national authoritites and enhance the role of national product contact points. They will introduce a faster problem-solving procedure for disputes between companies and national authorities, as well as a new voluntary declaration to be filled in by economic operators to prove lawful marketing in an EU Member State. The new rules will apply from 19 April 2020. Fourth edition. 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.

How the EU budget is spent: Euratom research and training programme

03-04-2019

The Euratom research and training programme is an important tool that implements the European Union's nuclear policy. Its main aim is to enhance the role of the European Union as a global leader in nuclear research, while efficiently managing its nuclear market.

The Euratom research and training programme is an important tool that implements the European Union's nuclear policy. Its main aim is to enhance the role of the European Union as a global leader in nuclear research, while efficiently managing its nuclear market.

Anstehende Veranstaltungen

22-01-2020
Understanding EU policy on data protection: State-of-play and future challenges
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