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The legal nature of Country-Specific Recommendations

17-09-2020

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.

Just transition in EU regions

28-01-2020

The EU plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries. As part of the European Green Deal, the new Commission has announced a 'Just Transition Mechanism' of €100 billion to support the territories most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.

The EU plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries. As part of the European Green Deal, the new Commission has announced a 'Just Transition Mechanism' of €100 billion to support the territories most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.

EU cohesiveness and cohesion [What Think Tanks are thinking]

10-01-2020

The European Union is envisaged as an area of growing stability, security and prosperity, with integration allowing it to boost citizens’ living standards and to enhance its influence globally. Generous cohesion and regional development funds are meant to limit wealth disparities among the various EU regions and countries. However, frequent difficulties in forging common foreign and economic policies, due to national differences, can diminish the EU’s domestic effectiveness and international leverage ...

The European Union is envisaged as an area of growing stability, security and prosperity, with integration allowing it to boost citizens’ living standards and to enhance its influence globally. Generous cohesion and regional development funds are meant to limit wealth disparities among the various EU regions and countries. However, frequent difficulties in forging common foreign and economic policies, due to national differences, can diminish the EU’s domestic effectiveness and international leverage, while inequalities in income have been widening, especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by international think tanks and research institutes on EU cohesiveness and cohesion published over the past year.

Arts in the digital era

21-11-2019

Arts and technology have always been inter-related. Artistic expression has been facilitated thanks to technological innovation that enabled artists either to adapt technologies meant for other purposes, or to invent them as a way to foster the creative process. The past 30 years have seen the rapid development and deployment of digital technology, and an ever-increasing use of information and communications technologies for all sorts of needs, including artistic expression. One of the most recent ...

Arts and technology have always been inter-related. Artistic expression has been facilitated thanks to technological innovation that enabled artists either to adapt technologies meant for other purposes, or to invent them as a way to foster the creative process. The past 30 years have seen the rapid development and deployment of digital technology, and an ever-increasing use of information and communications technologies for all sorts of needs, including artistic expression. One of the most recent innovations, artificial intelligence, has already found its way into artists' studios and the creative process. The European Union faces international competition not only with regard to technological progress and art markets but also to the use of new technologies for artistic expression. Therefore, to keep their competitive edge, EU artists need to acquire skills and competences also in high-tech fields, and the research and innovation community needs to keep abreast of evolving developments. The EU is soon to adopt its financial framework for the next budgetary period (2021-2027) and is discussing the levels of funding for its various support programmes, such as those for research and innovation, for cultural and artistic activities, and for the accomplishment of its digital single market, which among other things allows diverse operators and consumers to meet and interact. The discussions on these funding programmes also touch upon funds for projects on the interaction between arts and technology.

Protecting the rule of law in the EU: Existing mechanisms and possible improvements

06-11-2019

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have ...

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have been enshrined in the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The EU's very design is based on a shared responsibility for upholding and enforcing EU law, which is the joint task of the ECJ and national courts. The rule of law within the Member States, at least in areas covered by EU law, is therefore indispensable for the proper functioning of the Union and its legal system. Furthermore, the rule of law is one of the EU's fundamental values, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, which must be respected by the Member States, including in areas not covered by EU law. Should an EU Member State be suspected of breaching the rule of law, a number of procedures are available to verify this and, if needed, remedy the situation. First of all, there are three 'soft' mechanisms, which do not give rise to legally binding results, yet nevertheless have a certain political resonance and can be seen as a preparatory step towards legal action. These include the transitional 'special cooperation and verification mechanism' (included in the Act of Accession for Bulgaria and Romania), the Commission's rule of law framework, and the Council's annual dialogues on the rule of law. Apart from these 'soft' mechanisms, three legal procedures are also available which, if concluded, can produce legally binding results. First of all, infringement proceedings can be brought by the Commission if the alleged breach could also amount to the violation of a specific rule of EU law. Secondly, national courts from a Member State in which the rule of law is breached may refer preliminary questions to the ECJ, seeking guidance on the interpretation of EU law with a view to assessing the compatibility of national legislation. Finally, the breach of values procedure can be triggered, possibly leading to the suspension of a Member State's membership rights. This briefing has been produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

Civil and military drones: Navigating a disruptive and dynamic technological ecosystem

08-10-2019

Often labelled as one of today's main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration ...

Often labelled as one of today's main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration of drones into business and society so as to maintain a competitive EU aviation industry. Ranging from insect-sized to several tonnes in weight, drones are extremely versatile and can perform a very large variety of functions, from filming to farming, and from medical aid to search and rescue operations. Among the advantages of civil and military drones are their relative low cost, reach, greater work productivity and capacity to reduce risk to human life. These features have led to their mass commercialisation and integration into military planning. Regulatory and oversight challenges remain, however, particularly regarding dual-use drones – civil drones that can be easily turned into armed drones or weaponised for criminal purposes. At EU level, the European Commission has been empowered to regulate civil drones and the European Aviation Safety Agency to assist with ensuring a harmonised regulatory framework for safe drone operations. The latest EU legislation has achieved the highest ever safety standards for drones. Another challenge remaining for regulators, officials and manufacturers alike is the need to build the trust of citizens and consumers. Given that drones have been in the public eye more often for their misuse than their accomplishments, transparency and effective communication are imperative to prepare citizens for the upcoming drone age.

Banking Union: Towards new arrangements for the provision of liquidity in resolution?

16-07-2019

The recent case of Banco Popular has shown the importance of liquidity funding in the context of bank resolution. The Eurogroup report endorsed by the December 2018 Euro Summit noted the “broad support for the assessment of the institutions [i.e. ECB, SRB and Commission] that there are limitations in the current framework [for liquidity provision in resolution] which may hamper its effectiveness. The June 2019 Euro summit has not yet reached any conclusions on the design of that liquidity facility ...

The recent case of Banco Popular has shown the importance of liquidity funding in the context of bank resolution. The Eurogroup report endorsed by the December 2018 Euro Summit noted the “broad support for the assessment of the institutions [i.e. ECB, SRB and Commission] that there are limitations in the current framework [for liquidity provision in resolution] which may hamper its effectiveness. The June 2019 Euro summit has not yet reached any conclusions on the design of that liquidity facility, as planned. The Eurogroup is expected to report back to the Euro-Summit in December 2019. This briefing (1) describes the existing arrangements in the Banking Union, (2) compares those arrangements with the US and the UK regimes and (3) echoes ongoing reflections on possible new arrangements with a view to completing the Banking Union. This briefing is an updated version of a briefing initially drafted in July 2018.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: EU support for democracy and peace in the world

28-06-2019

From the outset, the European Union (EU) has been an integration project directed at preserving peace among its Member States – a fundamental objective that it has succeeded in achieving for over 60 years. As a community of like-minded states, the EU is also based on certain fundamental values, such as democracy and the rule of law, which the Union aspires to promote, both internally and externally, and which guide all its policies. In line with this vision, the EU has developed specific policies ...

From the outset, the European Union (EU) has been an integration project directed at preserving peace among its Member States – a fundamental objective that it has succeeded in achieving for over 60 years. As a community of like-minded states, the EU is also based on certain fundamental values, such as democracy and the rule of law, which the Union aspires to promote, both internally and externally, and which guide all its policies. In line with this vision, the EU has developed specific policies to support democracy and peace in the world. It also aims to integrate the pursuit of peace and democracy with all its other external actions in areas such as trade, development, enlargement and neighbourhood policies, its common foreign and security policy, and political and diplomatic relations with third countries and multilateral institutions. The EU has established a reputation as a soft power organisation guided by a normative vision and as an effective actor for peace and democracy. Strengthening peace and democracy globally has never been an easy task, however, and today's geopolitical context poses new challenges. The proliferation and increasing gravity and duration of conflicts – some in the EU's immediate neighbourhood, the emergence of new threats, such as terrorism or nuclear proliferation, and the crisis of liberal systems have driven the EU to widen and intensify its efforts. They have also led to a new vision for action revolving around the concept of 'resilient societies' based on the mutually reinforcing pillars of peace and democracy, and a special emphasis on fragile states. Against this background, recent surveys have shown that citizens expect the EU to be even more active in promoting peace and democracy externally – something that should surely strengthen its resolve to make further progress in this crucial area. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protection of EU external borders

28-06-2019

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders ...

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders by reinforcing the links between border controls and security. On the one hand, measures for protecting the EU's external borders have focused on reinforcing EU border management rules, such as the Schengen Borders Code, and strengthening and upgrading the mandates of relevant EU agencies, such as Frontex, eu-LISA, Europol and EASO. On the other hand, in connection with a number of key shortcomings in the EU's information systems, efforts were made to improve use of the opportunities offered by information systems and technologies for security, criminal records, and border and migration management. This included strengthening existing IT systems (SIS II, VIS, Eurodac, ECRIS-TCN), establishing new ones (ETIAS, Entry/Exit System) and improving their interoperability. The broader mandate and the increase of activities in the area of EU border management is also reflected in the growing amounts, flexibility, and diversity of EU funds, inside and outside the current and future EU budget. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Summary of the exchange of views on EU Member States National Declarations (ND) - Committee on Budgetary Control Meeting on 11 April 2019

14-06-2019

Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) held an exchange of views with Mr Olivier Waelbroeck, Director, European Commission, and Ms Eva Lindström, Member of the European Court of Auditors, in which they explored ways to promote the National Declarations (ND). ND are a voluntary public accountability instrument that strengthen the provision of assurance in the management of EU funds, and demonstrate the political commitment towards sound financial management.

Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) held an exchange of views with Mr Olivier Waelbroeck, Director, European Commission, and Ms Eva Lindström, Member of the European Court of Auditors, in which they explored ways to promote the National Declarations (ND). ND are a voluntary public accountability instrument that strengthen the provision of assurance in the management of EU funds, and demonstrate the political commitment towards sound financial management.

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Worskhop on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
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