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Coronavirus vaccines strategy

29-09-2020

On 17 June 2020, the European Commission presented a strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The strategy aims to secure high quality, safe, effective and affordable Covid-19 vaccines for all in the EU within 12-18 months, if not earlier. To this end, the Commission has started to enter into advance purchase agreements with vaccine producers on behalf of the EU Member States. With the Coronavirus Global Response ...

On 17 June 2020, the European Commission presented a strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The strategy aims to secure high quality, safe, effective and affordable Covid-19 vaccines for all in the EU within 12-18 months, if not earlier. To this end, the Commission has started to enter into advance purchase agreements with vaccine producers on behalf of the EU Member States. With the Coronavirus Global Response initiative and its participation in the COVAX facility, the EU is also positioning itself as a leader of global solidarity effort to speed up universal access to vaccines.

Update on recent banking developments

29-09-2020

This briefing gives an update on recent events and developments in the Banking Union, based on publicly available information. The following topics are specifically addressed in the first section: banking statistics, non-performing loans, Wirecard, and the equivalence regime in financial services., The second section of this briefing gives a state-of-play on the Commission’s work programme on some financial services: Green Finance Strategy, Fintech and digital currencies, the COVID-19 financial ...

This briefing gives an update on recent events and developments in the Banking Union, based on publicly available information. The following topics are specifically addressed in the first section: banking statistics, non-performing loans, Wirecard, and the equivalence regime in financial services., The second section of this briefing gives a state-of-play on the Commission’s work programme on some financial services: Green Finance Strategy, Fintech and digital currencies, the COVID-19 financial services package, Anti-money laundering framework, and the Capital Market Union.

On the path to 'strategic autonomy': The EU in an evolving geopolitical environment

28-09-2020

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy ...

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy on a horizontal – cross-policy – basis would strengthen the EU's multilateral action and reduce dependence on external actors, to make the EU less vulnerable to external threats; while promoting a level playing field that benefits everyone. The EU could thus reap the full dividend of its integration and possibly benefit from greater economic gains. To build European strategic autonomy, the EU may choose to use the still 'under-used' or 'unused' potential of the Lisbon Treaty, with the European Council having a key role to play in triggering some of the Treaty provisions, particularly in foreign and security policy. European strategic autonomy may also result from a deepening of the EU integration process. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Member States will wish to grasp the opportunity offered by the Conference on the Future of Europe to deepen the European project.

Outlook for the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020

28-09-2020

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding ...

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding the single market, industrial and digital policy, reiterating the key objective of achieving strategic autonomy, whilst maintaining an open economy. EU leaders are expected to call for development of EU autonomy in the space sector, a more integrated defence industrial base, and for the presentation of a 'digital compass' setting out the EU's digital ambitions for 2030 in its move towards digital sovereignty. EU leaders will also take stock of the coronavirus situation and review the coordination of national and European measures. Finally, the President, Charles Michel, is expected to set out his vision of the main issues to be dealt with by the leaders in the coming year, and to propose a work-plan for the European Council, similar to the Leaders’ Agenda which guided the work of the European Council during Donald Tusk's second mandate as President.

Outlook for the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020

28-09-2020

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding ...

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding the single market, industrial and digital policy, reiterating the key objective of achieving strategic autonomy, whilst maintaining an open economy. EU leaders are expected to call for development of EU autonomy in the space sector, a more integrated defence industrial base, and for the presentation of a 'digital compass' setting out the EU's digital ambitions for 2030 in its move towards digital sovereignty. EU leaders will also take stock of the coronavirus situation and review the coordination of national and European measures. Finally, the President, Charles Michel, is expected to set out his vision of the main issues to be dealt with by the leaders in the coming year, and to propose a work-plan for the European Council, similar to the Leaders’ Agenda which guided the work of the European Council during Donald Tusk's second mandate as President.

Coronavirus: The second wave? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

25-09-2020

Since the end of the holiday season, the rate of Covid-19 infection in Europe has increased to levels not seen since their peak in April 2020. Many cities and regions, and now whole countries, have had to reinforce preventive measures. An increasing number of governments around the world already face a dilemma over whether or not to return to strict confinement, which would further cripple their economies. In this context, this year’s UN General Assembly, witnessed a bizarre digital stand-off between ...

Since the end of the holiday season, the rate of Covid-19 infection in Europe has increased to levels not seen since their peak in April 2020. Many cities and regions, and now whole countries, have had to reinforce preventive measures. An increasing number of governments around the world already face a dilemma over whether or not to return to strict confinement, which would further cripple their economies. In this context, this year’s UN General Assembly, witnessed a bizarre digital stand-off between the Presidents of the United State and China, as they compete respectively for domestic and global approval of their handling of the pandemic. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on the coronavirus can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 4 September 2020.

How the coronavirus pandemic shook up our relationship with food

24-09-2020

First there was panic-buying. There were concerns over safety: could one be infected by food? Realisation of the efforts of supermarket staff, truck drivers and warehouse staff to keep food coming to customers. Spring amidst closed borders awakened us to how much we depend on foreign farm workers to pick fruit and vegetables. There were campaigns for furloughed employees to go and work on farms. Then came news about the conditions endured by some foreign workers in the food-processing industry. The ...

First there was panic-buying. There were concerns over safety: could one be infected by food? Realisation of the efforts of supermarket staff, truck drivers and warehouse staff to keep food coming to customers. Spring amidst closed borders awakened us to how much we depend on foreign farm workers to pick fruit and vegetables. There were campaigns for furloughed employees to go and work on farms. Then came news about the conditions endured by some foreign workers in the food-processing industry. The rollercoaster of the coronavirus crisis has changed our relationship with food, but whether just temporarily or for good, remains to be seen.

Upholding human rights in Europe during the pandemic

23-09-2020

The severe coronavirus outbreak has forced governments across the world to resort to drastic measures in order to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent a public health crisis. As elsewhere, these emergency measures taken in Europe have affected all aspects of societal life and profoundly impacted people's personal freedoms and individual rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Although certain human rights can be suspended in situations of emergency, human ...

The severe coronavirus outbreak has forced governments across the world to resort to drastic measures in order to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent a public health crisis. As elsewhere, these emergency measures taken in Europe have affected all aspects of societal life and profoundly impacted people's personal freedoms and individual rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Although certain human rights can be suspended in situations of emergency, human rights conventions, such as the ECHR, continue to apply even then. In fact, many human rights instruments provide for such situations and contain dedicated 'emergency clauses' that give governments additional flexibility to address crises. Indeed, within the ECHR framework, Article 15 is one such clause that allows Council of Europe (CoE) member states to temporarily diverge from their ordinary convention obligations to resolve an emergency, provided certain conditions are met. During the coronavirus pandemic, derogation clauses such as Article 15 of the ECHR, have gained particular importance, as so far 10 CoE member states have notified their intention to derogate from certain ECHR provisions in order to tackle the outbreak. This briefing explains the functioning of Article of the 15 ECHR and its application to the current health emergency. Furthermore, it lists some fundamental rights and freedoms that have been affected by the coronavirus emergency measures, while also showcasing how Member States have sought to reconcile measures to protect public health with the fundamental rights principles enshrined in the ordinary framework of the ECHR. The briefing also stresses that it is key to protect the human rights of vulnerable persons, including during the implementation of recovery strategies.

The evolving consequences of the coronavirus 'infodemic': How viral false coronavirus-related information affects people and societies across the world

23-09-2020

Massive waves of information, including extensive amounts of false information have accompanied the coronavirus pandemic. False information is being spread by a number of different actors for various reasons. Deliberately deceptive (geo-)political disinformation campaigns to undermine democracies – including the European Union (EU) – have been spread by authoritarian state actors and their proxies. Extremist groups have exploited the situation to spread their messaging. Others have propagated misleading ...

Massive waves of information, including extensive amounts of false information have accompanied the coronavirus pandemic. False information is being spread by a number of different actors for various reasons. Deliberately deceptive (geo-)political disinformation campaigns to undermine democracies – including the European Union (EU) – have been spread by authoritarian state actors and their proxies. Extremist groups have exploited the situation to spread their messaging. Others have propagated misleading information for financial gain. At the same time, a combination of widespread anxiety as well as increased use of social media during lockdowns in many countries have provide fertile ground for 'organic' false information and conspiracy theories by individual users who do not intentionally want to deceive anyone, but inadvertently become part of the problem by spreading and/or amplifying misleading messages. The repercussions of the 'infodemic' are still evolving, but have impacted the ability of authorities to effectively deal with the pandemic, with the infodemic is aggravating the spread of the virus itself. Different regions of the world have been challenged by a variety of types of false information and both general and region-specific narratives – many of which have impacted public health, the economy, geopolitics and societal stability.

Post-COVID-19 Global Currency Order: Risks and Opportunities for the Euro

22-09-2020

The issuance of EU debt in the context of the recovery plan for Europe creates scope for strengthening the international role of the euro. However, with a large share of safe euro assets likely to be absorbed by the pandemic emergency purchase programme of the ECB, a shortage of eligible bonds stands to impede such progress. The ECB could decisively increase the supply of safe assets by issuing tradable ECB certificates of deposit as a way of overcoming this obstacle. This document was provided ...

The issuance of EU debt in the context of the recovery plan for Europe creates scope for strengthening the international role of the euro. However, with a large share of safe euro assets likely to be absorbed by the pandemic emergency purchase programme of the ECB, a shortage of eligible bonds stands to impede such progress. The ECB could decisively increase the supply of safe assets by issuing tradable ECB certificates of deposit as a way of overcoming this obstacle. This document was provided by Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Autor externo

Barry EICHENGREEN, Daniel GROS