14

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States of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis: Situation in certain Member States III

17-06-2020

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted countries to take extensive and far-reaching measures to tackle the consequences of the outbreak. Apart from curbing the spread of the disease, these measures have also posed legal and economic challenges, significantly affecting people's lives. Due to the nature of the virus, citizens' rights and freedoms have been curtailed, inter alia affecting their freedom of movement and assembly, as well as the right to conduct economic activities. Whilst ...

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted countries to take extensive and far-reaching measures to tackle the consequences of the outbreak. Apart from curbing the spread of the disease, these measures have also posed legal and economic challenges, significantly affecting people's lives. Due to the nature of the virus, citizens' rights and freedoms have been curtailed, inter alia affecting their freedom of movement and assembly, as well as the right to conduct economic activities. Whilst the measures are currently being relaxed, there is debate in some Member States over whether the measures were justified and proportionate. Some Member States resorted to declaring a 'state of emergency', whilst others did not, either because they have no such mechanism in their constitutional framework or because they chose a different path, giving special powers to certain institutions or using and modifying existing legislation. In either case, democratic scrutiny over the situation has been highly important, making parliamentary oversight crucial to ensure the rule of law and respect for fundamental democratic principles. This briefing covers the following countries: Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden. It focuses on three key aspects: i) the constitutional framework of the state of emergency or legitimation of the emergency legislation; ii) the specific measures adopted; and iii) the extent of parliamentary oversight exercised on the adopted measures. This briefing is the third in a series aimed at providing a comparative overview of Member States' institutional responses to the coronavirus crisis. The first in the series gives an overview of the responses in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain, while the second covers Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, Romania and Slovenia.

Acceptance of electronic freight transport information

17-01-2019

In freight transport, handling of paper documents creates administrative burden and inefficiency to transport logistics chains. The use of electronic documents in this respect would improve the efficiency of transport, especially in multimodal and cross-border transport, and facilitate the functioning of the single market. The IA accompanying the Commission’s legislative proposal, which aims to foster the electronic exchange of documents and information, provides a good presentation of the problems ...

In freight transport, handling of paper documents creates administrative burden and inefficiency to transport logistics chains. The use of electronic documents in this respect would improve the efficiency of transport, especially in multimodal and cross-border transport, and facilitate the functioning of the single market. The IA accompanying the Commission’s legislative proposal, which aims to foster the electronic exchange of documents and information, provides a good presentation of the problems, objectives and policy options. It appears that the stakeholders’ views have been taken into account when making a choice of the preferred option. On the other hand, the IA could have explained estimated impacts of the initiative in more depth, in particular concerning the expected social and environmental impacts.

Establishing the single market programme

22-11-2018

The Commission’s proposal to establish a Single Market Programme for the period 2021-2027 would merge various existing and new programmes in the field of the Single Market. The impact assessment accompanying the proposal describes well the problems and the objectives addressing them, and provides a solid source of data. It also explains the relationship between different programmes and funds. The IA compares three options against the parameters of flexibility, simplification, synergies and feasibility ...

The Commission’s proposal to establish a Single Market Programme for the period 2021-2027 would merge various existing and new programmes in the field of the Single Market. The impact assessment accompanying the proposal describes well the problems and the objectives addressing them, and provides a solid source of data. It also explains the relationship between different programmes and funds. The IA compares three options against the parameters of flexibility, simplification, synergies and feasibility, but does not provide a proper impact analysis of the options, as required in the Better Regulation Guidelines. Furthermore, the IA could have presented the scope of the programme more clearly. In addition, it would have been useful to have more information about the governance of the preferred option and the implementation of the health dimension.

Establishing the InvestEU programme

26-10-2018

Building on the Investment Plan for Europe, the Commission proposes to create the InvestEU programme, which would bring various existing EU financial instruments into a single structure. This would contribute to the cross-cutting MFF objectives (simplification, flexibility, synergies, coherence) and to the budgetary aim of ‘doing more with less’. This proposal, which would seek to mobilise public and private investments to reduce investment gaps, is based on the stakeholder consultation and different ...

Building on the Investment Plan for Europe, the Commission proposes to create the InvestEU programme, which would bring various existing EU financial instruments into a single structure. This would contribute to the cross-cutting MFF objectives (simplification, flexibility, synergies, coherence) and to the budgetary aim of ‘doing more with less’. This proposal, which would seek to mobilise public and private investments to reduce investment gaps, is based on the stakeholder consultation and different ex post evaluations of the programmes having relevancy for the InvestEU programme. The IA accompanying the proposal provides a thorough description of the challenges in investment, comprising both qualitative and quantitative elements, and links the proposed measures to the identified challenges. The IA discusses also risks and mitigating measures, although the risks and risk management could perhaps have elaborated in more detail. As regards alternative options, the IA discusses some options (implementing partners, organisation of governance, blending and combinations of the support) but does not provide an assessment and comparison of various options as is normally required under the better regulation guidelines. It would have benefited the analysis if the assessment of the expected competitiveness, economic, social and environmental impacts had been more elaborated as in this respect the IA is not very informative.

European Social Fund Plus and European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

08-10-2018

The Commission proposes to establish a European Social Plus (ESF+) by merging different funds and programmes, and a strengthened European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). These proposals would contribute to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and enhance social Europe. The impact assessment report (IA) concerning the proposals explains the challenges of funding and the defined objectives of the proposals. In relation to the proposed measures, risks and mitigating measures have also ...

The Commission proposes to establish a European Social Plus (ESF+) by merging different funds and programmes, and a strengthened European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). These proposals would contribute to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and enhance social Europe. The impact assessment report (IA) concerning the proposals explains the challenges of funding and the defined objectives of the proposals. In relation to the proposed measures, risks and mitigating measures have also been discussed. It can be noted that the IA essentially concentrates in providing a thorough assessment of the selected measures, rather than discussing possible alternatives and comparing and assessing them. In addition, it would have benefited the analysis, if the link with the specific objectives had been elaborated more, as the description of social impacts is quite limited, and health impacts are not discussed although the Health Programme is merged into the ESF+. It would have been useful to have further explanation on the merger of the Health Programme into the ESF+ and its expected synergy impacts. A more detailed description would have been welcome concerning the results of the targeted stakeholder consultations.

Streamlining measures for advancing the realisation of the Trans-European Transport Network

28-08-2018

Removing obstacles to investments in infrastructure projects, like the Trans-European Transport network (TEN-T), contributes to the Investment Plan for Europe. The European Commission recently issued a legislative proposal to streamline measures for advancing realisation of the TEN-T, as problems concerning delays and legal uncertainties impact on the effective completion. This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s impact assessment accompanying ...

Removing obstacles to investments in infrastructure projects, like the Trans-European Transport network (TEN-T), contributes to the Investment Plan for Europe. The European Commission recently issued a legislative proposal to streamline measures for advancing realisation of the TEN-T, as problems concerning delays and legal uncertainties impact on the effective completion. This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s impact assessment accompanying the above-mentioned proposal and assesses in particular to what extent the requirements of the Commission's own Better Regulation Guidelines have been respected. Overall, the impact assessment appears to provide a comprehensive problem analysis and to link it with objectives and options. However, some issues could have been further explained and the objectives could have been more specific. Greater attention could also have been given to the initiative’s impact on SMEs and more detailed information provided about the respondents in the consultation process.

European production and preservation orders and the appointment of legal representatives for gathering electronic evidence

13-07-2018

The IA provides a comprehensive description of the problem and the options are clearly linked to the objectives and the problem definition. It would have benefited the analysis if coherence and complementarity between this initiative and other proposed EU legislation would have been further explained. Moreover, stakeholders’ views are mentioned in a rather general way throughout the IA report and also, the problem drivers are not evenly discussed. It is to be noted that the proposed Regulation does ...

The IA provides a comprehensive description of the problem and the options are clearly linked to the objectives and the problem definition. It would have benefited the analysis if coherence and complementarity between this initiative and other proposed EU legislation would have been further explained. Moreover, stakeholders’ views are mentioned in a rather general way throughout the IA report and also, the problem drivers are not evenly discussed. It is to be noted that the proposed Regulation does not entirely follow the IA as it does not include legislative measures on direct access and access to databases, and on the other hand, it includes additional conditions for issuing a European Production Order.

European Labour Authority

25-05-2018

The IA report provides a thorough problem definition and clearly links the problems, objectives and options. However, further explanations of the delivery options, proportionality principle and justification of the preferred option would have benefited the assessment. More discussion on possible risks of overlaps with existing structures and complexity would have been welcome.

The IA report provides a thorough problem definition and clearly links the problems, objectives and options. However, further explanations of the delivery options, proportionality principle and justification of the preferred option would have benefited the assessment. More discussion on possible risks of overlaps with existing structures and complexity would have been welcome.

Rates of value added tax

25-04-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, submitted on 18 January 2018 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. The proposal amends Directive 2006/112/EC (hereafter the VAT Directive), which sets out the rules governing the current temporary VAT system (dating from 1993), which are currently based on the principle of origin. When the Council adopted ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, submitted on 18 January 2018 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. The proposal amends Directive 2006/112/EC (hereafter the VAT Directive), which sets out the rules governing the current temporary VAT system (dating from 1993), which are currently based on the principle of origin. When the Council adopted the common system of value added tax in 1967, the commitment was made to create a definitive VAT system operating within the European Community.

Transparent and predictable working conditions

22-02-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, submitted on 21 December 2017 and referred to the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. The proposal updates and replaces Directive 91/533/EEC (the Written Statement Directive, hereafter WSD), which gives employees the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their contract or employment ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, submitted on 21 December 2017 and referred to the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. The proposal updates and replaces Directive 91/533/EEC (the Written Statement Directive, hereafter WSD), which gives employees the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their contract or employment relationship. Taking into account that the labour market has evolved and new forms of work have developed in recent years, the REFIT evaluation of the WSD found that there is a need to modernise and complement the existing obligations to inform workers of their working conditions, and to create minimum standards to ensure that each worker benefits from more clarity regarding his/her working terms, irrespective of the type of employment relationship they have. According to the IA, the initiative would set a framework within which new forms of work could develop, offering fairer protection for workers, a clearer legal framework and a more level playing field for companies in the internal market (IA, pp. 6-7). The proposal, which is part of the 2018 Commission work programme, is a follow-up to the European Pillar of Social Rights. In line with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Commission conducted a two-stage consultation with the social partners on the revision of the WSD. There was no agreement among the social partners to enter into direct negotiations on concluding an EU-level agreement. The European Parliament has stressed the need to address the developments of the labour market and protect workers in all forms of employment. It has called for a framework directive on decent working conditions and for a revision of the WSD to take account of new forms of employment.

Socios