ThinkTank logo The documents that help shape new EU legislation
Posted on 24-02-2020

Australia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

24-02-2020

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in ...

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in this infographic, which also provides an economic snapshot of Australia.

Beijing Platform for Action - 25 years on

24-02-2020

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, which represented a turning point for the global agenda for gender equality and resulted in pivotal commitments and objectives, the results of which we still measure today. The Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, adopted unanimously by 189 countries at the Conference in 1995, is considered to be the most comprehensive global policy framework for the rights of women. It recognises women ...

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, which represented a turning point for the global agenda for gender equality and resulted in pivotal commitments and objectives, the results of which we still measure today. The Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, adopted unanimously by 189 countries at the Conference in 1995, is considered to be the most comprehensive global policy framework for the rights of women. It recognises women’s rights as human rights and sets out a comprehensive roadmap for achieving equality between women and men, with concrete measures and measurable outcomes across a range of issues affecting women and girls. These outcomes are divided into 12 inter-related areas where a need for urgent action was identified: poverty, education and training, health care, violence against women and girls, armed conflict, economic empowerment, power and decision-making, mechanisms to promote advancement of women, women’s human rights, the media, the environment and the rights of the girl child.

Government system and institutions of Australia

24-02-2020

The Commonwealth of Australia, as Australia is officially known, was established on 1 January 1901 with the federation of six former British colonies. The Constitution, which came into effect on the same day, provides the rules by which Australia is governed and divides government responsibilities into three separate branches: parliament, executive and judiciary. In addition to being a federation, Australia is also a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elisabeth II, who ...

The Commonwealth of Australia, as Australia is officially known, was established on 1 January 1901 with the federation of six former British colonies. The Constitution, which came into effect on the same day, provides the rules by which Australia is governed and divides government responsibilities into three separate branches: parliament, executive and judiciary. In addition to being a federation, Australia is also a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elisabeth II, who resides in the United Kingdom (UK), is the official head of state of the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia's system of government is modelled on the Westminster system deriving from the British tradition. The Commonwealth parliament, made up of the Queen and the two Houses of Parliament, in addition to holding the legislative power, is at the heart of the tradition of responsible government. This means that government ministers, who all must be members of parliament, are accountable to, and must answer to, the parliament for their actions. There are three levels of government within the country, namely the Commonwealth (federal), state or territory, and local level. Under Australia's federal system, the powers of government are divided between the federal and the state governments. Out of the 10 territories that are part of the Commonwealth, two have been granted a level of self-government by the federal parliament. Consequently, Australia has a federal parliament, as well as six state and two territory parliaments. It also has a federal executive government, as well as six state and two territory executive governments. A third, local level of Australian government was established by state and territory governments. The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the judicial system.

Posted on 21-02-2020

UK: Economic indicators and trade with EU

21-02-2020

The UK withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. From 1 February, it is a third country and therefore considered as such in this publication. The trade figures shown concern a period in which the UK was an EU Member State, whereas the future picture could vary significantly depending on the outcome of trade negotiations between the EU and the UK.

The UK withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. From 1 February, it is a third country and therefore considered as such in this publication. The trade figures shown concern a period in which the UK was an EU Member State, whereas the future picture could vary significantly depending on the outcome of trade negotiations between the EU and the UK.

External author

Olga Griaznova, Globalstat, EUI

Size of Political Groups in the EP - February 2020

21-02-2020

Our table shows the number of MEPs in each group, broken down by Member State, as well as the non-attached (NI) Members not in any group. The figures are supplied by our colleagues from the Members’ Administration Unit. This infographic updates an earlier edition, of 5 July 2019, PE637.970.

Our table shows the number of MEPs in each group, broken down by Member State, as well as the non-attached (NI) Members not in any group. The figures are supplied by our colleagues from the Members’ Administration Unit. This infographic updates an earlier edition, of 5 July 2019, PE637.970.

Artificial intelligence [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

21-02-2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) is usually understood as the ability for a machine to display human-like capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity. The 'Holy Grail' for many governments and companies seeking to benefit from the digital revolution, the first to invent and apply true AI could achieve an enormous advantage in economic and military terms. However, there are serious ethical implications in such potential developments. Many aspects of AI have already been applied since ...

Artificial intelligence (AI) is usually understood as the ability for a machine to display human-like capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity. The 'Holy Grail' for many governments and companies seeking to benefit from the digital revolution, the first to invent and apply true AI could achieve an enormous advantage in economic and military terms. However, there are serious ethical implications in such potential developments. Many aspects of AI have already been applied since the 2000s in machines with sufficiently fast processing speeds, equipped with learning techniques and fed large amounts of data. Current versions of AI help to drive cars, beat chess champions, and offer excellent medical diagnostics, to take a few examples. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on AI and related issues.

Posted on 20-02-2020

Implementation of macro-regional strategies

20-02-2020

While each macro-regional strategy is unique in terms of the countries it brings together and the scope of its policies, they all share the same common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues that are best tackled together. Building on the success of the pioneering 2009 European Union strategy for the Baltic Sea region, this form of cooperation has since become firmly embedded in the EU's institutional framework, with four strategies now in place, covering a total of 19 Member States and ...

While each macro-regional strategy is unique in terms of the countries it brings together and the scope of its policies, they all share the same common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues that are best tackled together. Building on the success of the pioneering 2009 European Union strategy for the Baltic Sea region, this form of cooperation has since become firmly embedded in the EU's institutional framework, with four strategies now in place, covering a total of 19 Member States and 8 third countries. Every two years, the European Commission publishes a report to assess the implementation of these strategies, most recently in 2019. With the views of stakeholders and other players helping to complete the picture, it is possible to identify a number of challenges common to all macro-regional strategies in areas such as governance, funding, political commitment and the need to be more results oriented. This, in turn, has helped focus discussions on the future role of macro-regional strategies within the post 2020 cohesion policy framework. For while recent months have seen the idea of a fifth macro-regional strategy resurface, with negotiations now under way on the cohesion policy architecture beyond 2020, the future position of macro-regional strategies within this framework looks set to be the key issue in the coming months for all actors involved in the EU’s macro-regional strategies. Parliament has actively taken part in this debate, through its participation in trilogues on the cohesion policy package, and its 2018 resolution on the implementation of macro-regional strategies. The current Croatian EU Presidency has also committed to focusing on achieving the goals of macro-regional strategies and ensuring their complementarity with cohesion policy as part of its programme, helping to keep the issue high on the political agenda. Much will depend, however, on the outcome of the ongoing multiannual financial framework (MFF) negotiations, which will be critical not only for macro-regional strategies but also for the future shape of cohesion policy in general. This is an updated edition of a Briefing from September 2017.

Future EU-UK trade relationship

20-02-2020

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) came into effect on 1 February 2020, following the large majority gained by the Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, in the UK general election in December 2019. The transition period began on the same day and is due to run until the end of 2020. During this period, although no longer part of the EU institutions, the UK remains in the customs union and single market, and within the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of ...

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) came into effect on 1 February 2020, following the large majority gained by the Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, in the UK general election in December 2019. The transition period began on the same day and is due to run until the end of 2020. During this period, although no longer part of the EU institutions, the UK remains in the customs union and single market, and within the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU (with some exceptions). Negotiations during the transition period are aimed at reaching agreements that will shape the future EU-UK relationship in a range of domains, and especially that of trade. In the Political Declaration accompanying the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU and the UK 'agree to develop an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership'. However, some major obstacles have surfaced. The UK insists that it is unwilling to submit to EU Court of Justice jurisdiction, and demands autonomy in its regulatory and trade policies. The UK indicates that it seeks a free trade agreement similar to that agreed between the EU and Canada: comprehensive, but very different to the previous relationship. The EU has taken note of the UK objectives, but emphasises that the deeper the trade agreement, the more UK regulations and standards must align with those of the EU. To the EU, alignment is essential to preserve a level playing field, on the grounds that the EU and UK are close neighbouring economies and strongly interconnected. The European Commission's 3 February 2020 recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations on the future relationship confirms this approach. In this context, time is critical. The Withdrawal Agreement allows for an extension to the transition period, but the UK Withdrawal Act explicitly prohibits extension. In addition, to allow for ratification, the trade agreement should be ready well ahead of the end of the transition period. The Commission recommendation insists on including fisheries (a highly sensitive area of negotiation), in the new economic partnership and that related provisions should be established by 1 July 2020. Time-constrained negotiation may give rise to a limited economic and trade agreement that covers only priority areas, rather than the ambitious single comprehensive agreement sought under the Political Declaration and Commission recommendation.

Posted on 19-02-2020

Current membership of the European Council

10-12-2019

The European Council consists of the 27 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 27 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.

The net operating balances or the "Juste retour" approach

19-02-2020

Operating budgetary balances (OBBs) are calculated and published annually by the European Commission as an attempt to document the differences between a Member State’s financial contribution to and its allocated expenditure from the EU budget. OBBs have become a highly politicised concept, with substantial shortcomings. Calculating Operating budgetary balances (OBB) is purely an accounting exercise. This is most convincingly demonstrated by the zero-sum assumption inherent in the Operating budgetary ...

Operating budgetary balances (OBBs) are calculated and published annually by the European Commission as an attempt to document the differences between a Member State’s financial contribution to and its allocated expenditure from the EU budget. OBBs have become a highly politicised concept, with substantial shortcomings. Calculating Operating budgetary balances (OBB) is purely an accounting exercise. This is most convincingly demonstrated by the zero-sum assumption inherent in the Operating budgetary balances concept, as a positive OBB of one country must necessarily be offset by a negative OBB of equal size by another Member State. Evidently, such a perspective stands in sharp contrast with the idea of an EU budget that is not primarily meant as a system of fiscal redistribution, but rather as a means to generate European added value..

External author

Zareh Astryan, Annika Havlik, Friedrich heinermann, Justus Nover, Marta Pilati

Upcoming events

03-03-2020
Demographic Outlook for the EU in 2020: Understanding population trends in the EU
Other event -
EPRS
05-03-2020
Has the EU become a regulatory superpower? How it's rules are shaping global markets
Other event -
EPRS

Infographics

Publications of the Think Tank

The content of all documents contained in the Think Tank website is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work.

The Think Tank is on...