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Posted on 28-10-2020

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure: An introduction

28-10-2020

What is the macroeconomic imbalance procedure? What are the elements of its scoreboard? Once those elements are taken into account, how does the procedure evolve in the wider context of the European Semester? This paper attempts to put these elements in context and provides an introduction to the subject, as well as a flavour of the debate driven by academia and European institutions, in view of the general discussion on European economic governance, taking place in 2020 and 2021.

What is the macroeconomic imbalance procedure? What are the elements of its scoreboard? Once those elements are taken into account, how does the procedure evolve in the wider context of the European Semester? This paper attempts to put these elements in context and provides an introduction to the subject, as well as a flavour of the debate driven by academia and European institutions, in view of the general discussion on European economic governance, taking place in 2020 and 2021.

Gender equality in the college of the European Court of Auditors

28-10-2020

This briefing on gender balance in the college of the European Court of Auditors aims to shed light on the balance between male and female members, from a historical perspective as the ECA has a reputation of being a rather male-dominated institution.

This briefing on gender balance in the college of the European Court of Auditors aims to shed light on the balance between male and female members, from a historical perspective as the ECA has a reputation of being a rather male-dominated institution.

EU Gender budgeting: where do we stand?

28-10-2020

Gender budgeting has a fundamental impact on inclusive and economic growth, fostering employment, reducing poverty, addressing ageing population and increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the study of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the estimated impact of improved gender equality varies considerably across member states from 4% to 12% of GDP, depending on the present level of achievement of gender equality.

Gender budgeting has a fundamental impact on inclusive and economic growth, fostering employment, reducing poverty, addressing ageing population and increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the study of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the estimated impact of improved gender equality varies considerably across member states from 4% to 12% of GDP, depending on the present level of achievement of gender equality.

Protecting civil society space: strengthening freedom of association, assembly and expression and the right to defend rights in the EU

28-10-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, covers the challenges facing the civil society space. Watchdog NGOs and other human rights defenders have been under pressure during the humanitarian and rule of law ‘crises’. Several EU Member States have passed laws that fall short of international, regional and EU freedom of association standards. Some governments have used the COVID-19 pandemic ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, covers the challenges facing the civil society space. Watchdog NGOs and other human rights defenders have been under pressure during the humanitarian and rule of law ‘crises’. Several EU Member States have passed laws that fall short of international, regional and EU freedom of association standards. Some governments have used the COVID-19 pandemic to further restrict the civic space. The study explores how the EU could protect civil society from unjust state interference by strengthening freedom of association, assembly and expression, as well as the right to defend human rights. The study elaborates on four policy options: introducing a European association statute; establishing internal guidelines to respect and protect human rights defenders; developing a civil society stability index; and creating a network of focal contact points for civil society at EU institutions. It recommends strengthening the independence of critical civil society actors and increasing funding for activities such as strategic litigation to uphold EU laws and values.

External author

Lina VOSYLIŪTĖ, Ngo Chun LUK

Posted on 27-10-2020

EU foreign, security and defence policies [What Think Tanks are thinking]

27-10-2020

The European Union faces multifaceted foreign security and defence policy challenges. First and foremost, it awaits the outcome of the US Presidential election, which is set to determine in significant part global economic and political developments in the short to medium term. The Union also faces a tough choice about how to treat China: more as a rival or as a partner, and in which areas? An increasingly assertive Russia represents yet another challenge. The EU’s stance on climate, migration, Africa ...

The European Union faces multifaceted foreign security and defence policy challenges. First and foremost, it awaits the outcome of the US Presidential election, which is set to determine in significant part global economic and political developments in the short to medium term. The Union also faces a tough choice about how to treat China: more as a rival or as a partner, and in which areas? An increasingly assertive Russia represents yet another challenge. The EU’s stance on climate, migration, Africa, terrorism and developments in its near neighbourhood add to this complex scene. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on EU foreign, security and defence policies.

Revision of the TEN-E Regulation

27-10-2020

The general objective of TEN-E policy is to link the energy infrastructure of EU countries. The current guidelines for the trans-European energy infrastructure were established by Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 (the TEN-E Regulation). The European Commission is currently carrying out a multi-step revision process of the regulation, with a view to making the EU energy infrastructure fully consistent with and a driver for the EU's 2050 climate neutrality ambition. In this respect, a new proposal is expected ...

The general objective of TEN-E policy is to link the energy infrastructure of EU countries. The current guidelines for the trans-European energy infrastructure were established by Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 (the TEN-E Regulation). The European Commission is currently carrying out a multi-step revision process of the regulation, with a view to making the EU energy infrastructure fully consistent with and a driver for the EU's 2050 climate neutrality ambition. In this respect, a new proposal is expected by the end of 2020.

Recent trends in female employment

27-10-2020

Statistics and research results show that in recent decades, before the coronavirus pandemic, the EU's labour market witnessed an increase in female employment rates. Women's employment seems to have been more resilient than men's to the economic and financial crisis in 2008. This was due in part to long-term developments and changes in the institutional framework, but also to women's tendency to work in particular sectors and accept flexible working arrangements (such as part-time work or teleworking ...

Statistics and research results show that in recent decades, before the coronavirus pandemic, the EU's labour market witnessed an increase in female employment rates. Women's employment seems to have been more resilient than men's to the economic and financial crisis in 2008. This was due in part to long-term developments and changes in the institutional framework, but also to women's tendency to work in particular sectors and accept flexible working arrangements (such as part-time work or teleworking). The coronavirus crisis, however, has had a harsher impact on women than on men when it comes to the labour market. One of the main reasons is that men tend more to work in sectors considered as essential economic activities (with the exception of healthcare), whereas women's work often involves contact with customers and clients, making teleworking impossible. Women have also been faced with increased childcare needs, reducing their ability to work, while enjoying a lower level of social protection owing to their working arrangements. Although EU legislation takes account of the situation of women in the labour market, and a number of legislative and non-legislative initiatives have recently been taken at EU level, a number of challenges remain. Areas where action is required include: the harmonisation of retirement schemes, to take the specific nature of women's careers into account; better reconciliation of work and family life by means of more flexible employment arrangements; and action to address the perennial gender pay gap. This is an update of an earlier briefing on Trends in female employment, from October 2015, PE 569.049.

Information Package for the Committee of Inquiry on the protection of animals during transport (ANIT)

27-10-2020

This note aims to provide the Members of the ANIT Committee with a state of play on existing literature and data sources on live animal transport through links to key information sources and existing reports and studies.

This note aims to provide the Members of the ANIT Committee with a state of play on existing literature and data sources on live animal transport through links to key information sources and existing reports and studies.

Improving the quality of public spending in Europe - Budgetary waste rates in EU Member States

27-10-2020

The aim of this joint project by the European Added Value and Budget units of DG EPRS is to establish whether and under what circumstances budgetary benefits and cost savings can be realised by Member States through funding policies and programmes with EU added value at EU level instead of at MS level, and measure the scale of such benefits and savings. On the one hand, higher EU added value can be achieved through additional provision of public goods, efficiency gains, and lower administrative costs ...

The aim of this joint project by the European Added Value and Budget units of DG EPRS is to establish whether and under what circumstances budgetary benefits and cost savings can be realised by Member States through funding policies and programmes with EU added value at EU level instead of at MS level, and measure the scale of such benefits and savings. On the one hand, higher EU added value can be achieved through additional provision of public goods, efficiency gains, and lower administrative costs delivered by the EU budget. In parallel, this can also result in positive spillovers and additional saving for the national budgets. Failure to take advantage of these benefits or of these potential savings can thus lead to a de-facto wasted budgetary resources. The study looks into detail at these issues and provide a comprehensive methodology to arrive at a robust estimation of the level of budgetary waste by Member States.

Posted on 26-10-2020

Fair minimum wages in the EU - Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission's initiative

26-10-2020

This briefing forms part of an EPRS series offering syntheses of the pre-legislative state of play and consultation on key European Commission priorities during the current five-year term. It summarises the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examines how existing policy is working on the ground, and, where possible, identifies best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of European system of multilevel governance. Based on EPRS analysis ...

This briefing forms part of an EPRS series offering syntheses of the pre-legislative state of play and consultation on key European Commission priorities during the current five-year term. It summarises the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examines how existing policy is working on the ground, and, where possible, identifies best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of European system of multilevel governance. Based on EPRS analysis, partner organisations at European, national, regional and local levels point to the following main considerations that they consider should shape discussion of the forthcoming initiative on fair minimum wages for workers in the EU: • There are fears regarding the implications of the EU initiative for the respective national systems, with the various stakeholders suggesting a cautious approach as part of what could prove to be a long-term discussion. A complex differentiated approach with several safeguards, adapted to the respective systems in place, would appear to be key to avoiding an initiative with only minimal ambitions. • A broad consensus is observed regarding the need to reinforce the social partners; strengthening social dialogue and promoting collective bargaining should be used as an opportunity to explore ambitious measures in this area. • The unresolved debate on the effects of higher minimum wages on the economy and employment situation underlines the need for detailed and regular analysis, including by means of greater use of impact assessment tools. This would be valuable in order to prevent negative consequences and demonstrate the added value of EU action. • Some specific (complementary) instruments deserve to be considered, such as the country-specific recommendations of the European Semester and public procurement procedures.

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