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Demographic outlook for the European Union 2020

02-03-2020

Demography matters. The economy and the labour market, but also social protection, intergenerational fairness and healthcare, the environment, food and nutrition are all driven by demography. The population of EU countries has grown substantially – by around a quarter since 1960 – and currently it stands at almost 450 million. The numbers are now beginning to stagnate however and are expected to decline from around the middle of the century. With the world population having risen still more substantially ...

Demography matters. The economy and the labour market, but also social protection, intergenerational fairness and healthcare, the environment, food and nutrition are all driven by demography. The population of EU countries has grown substantially – by around a quarter since 1960 – and currently it stands at almost 450 million. The numbers are now beginning to stagnate however and are expected to decline from around the middle of the century. With the world population having risen still more substantially and growth continuing, the EU represents a shrinking proportion of the global population. The EU population is also ageing dramatically, as life expectancy increases and fertility rates fall below past levels. This has serious implications across a range of areas including the economy, healthcare and pensions. Free movement within the EU and migration from third countries also play an important role in shaping demography in individual Member States and regions. The 'in-focus' section of this year's edition of the demographic outlook examines food and nutrition-related demographic challenges. It shows that, even if improving food quality and healthier eating habits lead to higher life expectancy, the EU still has to tackle the harmful consequences and prevent the causes of diet-related chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This paper is the third in a series produced by EPRS on the demographic outlook for the European Union.

Prudential requirements and supervision of investment firms

15-01-2020

Investment firms play an important role in capital markets, facilitating savings and investment flows across the EU. However, the current EU rules are seen as fragmented, overly complex, inconsistently applied and often a poor fit for the actual risks taken by the various types of investment firms. The Commission proposed a new regulation on the prudential requirements of investment firms and a new directive on the prudential supervision of investment firms. These proposals update the framework for ...

Investment firms play an important role in capital markets, facilitating savings and investment flows across the EU. However, the current EU rules are seen as fragmented, overly complex, inconsistently applied and often a poor fit for the actual risks taken by the various types of investment firms. The Commission proposed a new regulation on the prudential requirements of investment firms and a new directive on the prudential supervision of investment firms. These proposals update the framework for investment firms, making it more effective and more closely calibrated to the size and nature of the various investment firms and their risks. Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) agreed its report and negotiating mandate on 24 September 2018. On 20 March 2019, provisional agreements were reached by Parliament and Council negotiators. Parliament adopted the texts at first reading on 16 April 2019. Following linguistic corrections, corrigenda were endorsed by Parliament in October, and the regulation and directive were adopted by the Council then signed into law on 27 November. Both will apply in full from 26 June 2021. Second edition of a briefing originally drafted by David Eatock. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

A fresh look at the future of work in the EU

24-10-2019

Economic and technical changes are redrawing the map of the world of work: new jobs are appearing while others are becoming obsolete, and atypical work patterns are replacing full-time work and open-ended contracts. In addition, work is increasingly being carried out on online platforms connecting buyers and sellers, or by large project teams across borders and time zones. Robotics and digitalisation raise new questions, as machines progressively replace the human workforce for routine tasks, and ...

Economic and technical changes are redrawing the map of the world of work: new jobs are appearing while others are becoming obsolete, and atypical work patterns are replacing full-time work and open-ended contracts. In addition, work is increasingly being carried out on online platforms connecting buyers and sellers, or by large project teams across borders and time zones. Robotics and digitalisation raise new questions, as machines progressively replace the human workforce for routine tasks, and new types of professional and personal skills are required to respond to technological progress. Active labour-market policies are gradually adapting to the changing reality in the world of work. This concerns social security systems, which increasingly face include new, and constantly changing requirements, as well as ethical and practical problems relating to robotics. The EU focuses on protecting workers' rights while ensuring innovation, as the examples of the recently adopted Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions and the establishment of the new European Labour Authority illustrate. The need for the new digital skills that are essential to successfully master the challenges of the new working environment also continues to grow. This is an update of an earlier Briefing on the Future of work in the EU, from April 2017, PE 599.426.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Dubravka Šuica – Vice-President: Democracy and Demography

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Health and social security

28-06-2019

While responsibility for health and social security lies primarily with the governments of the individual European Union (EU) Member States, the EU complements national policies, especially those with a cross-border dimension. In a recent poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than two thirds of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on health and social security. EU health policy aims to foster good health, protect citizens from health threats and support dynamic health ...

While responsibility for health and social security lies primarily with the governments of the individual European Union (EU) Member States, the EU complements national policies, especially those with a cross-border dimension. In a recent poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than two thirds of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on health and social security. EU health policy aims to foster good health, protect citizens from health threats and support dynamic health systems. It is mainly implemented through EU action programmes, currently the third health programme (2014-2020). Challenges include tackling the health needs of an ageing population and reducing the incidence of preventable chronic diseases. Since 2014, steps forward have been made in a number of areas, including antimicrobial resistance, childhood obesity, health systems, medical devices and vaccination. EU action on social security issues in the EU is closely related to the implementation of what is known as the European Pillar of Social Rights as well as labour market developments. The EU helps to promote social cohesion, seeking to foster equality as well as solidarity through adequate, accessible and financially sustainable social protection systems and social inclusion policies. EU spending on social security is tied to labour market measures. Progress can be observed on issues such as work-life balance and equal opportunities, but there is more to do. In the future, social protection schemes will need to be further adapted to the new labour market realities (fewer manufacturing jobs, atypical contracts, 'platform work', etc.). In its proposal for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission plans to boost funding to improve workers' employment opportunities, and strengthen social cohesion through an enlarged 'European Social Fund Plus'. The fund would also incorporate finance for the stand-alone health programme, with the aim of creating synergies with the other building blocks of the European Pillar of Social Rights: equal opportunities and access to the labour market; fair working conditions; and social protection and inclusion. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Revising the social security coordination regulations

16-04-2019

Around 14 million EU citizens live outside their home country. The social security systems that apply to them are determined by the relevant individual Member States. The European Commission proposed to adapt the current regulations on coordination of social security systems. A provisional agreement was reached between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament, but was rejected at the Coreper meeting on 29 March 2019. Parliament will discuss the file during its April II 2019 plenary session ...

Around 14 million EU citizens live outside their home country. The social security systems that apply to them are determined by the relevant individual Member States. The European Commission proposed to adapt the current regulations on coordination of social security systems. A provisional agreement was reached between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament, but was rejected at the Coreper meeting on 29 March 2019. Parliament will discuss the file during its April II 2019 plenary session.

Ensuring more transparent and predictable working conditions

11-04-2019

An employer's obligation to inform their employees on the conditions applicable to their contracts is regulated by Directive 91/533/EEC. Major shifts in the labour market due to demographic trends and digitalisation, spawning a growing number of non-standard employment relationships, have made it necessary to revise the directive. The European Commission has responded to the need for change with a proposal aimed at updating and extending the information on employment-related obligations and working ...

An employer's obligation to inform their employees on the conditions applicable to their contracts is regulated by Directive 91/533/EEC. Major shifts in the labour market due to demographic trends and digitalisation, spawning a growing number of non-standard employment relationships, have made it necessary to revise the directive. The European Commission has responded to the need for change with a proposal aimed at updating and extending the information on employment-related obligations and working conditions, and at creating new minimum standards for all employed workers, including those on atypical contracts. In the European Parliament, the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) has adopted a report focused on the scope of the directive, on employees' working hours and the conditions for making information available to them, and on employers' responsibilities. The provisional agreement concluded in trilogue between European Parliament and the Council negotiators sets, among other things, new rules on the scope of the directive, the date of providing information, the length of probatory periods, and regulates working conditions in the case of variable working schedules. This agreement now needs to be approved by Parliament in plenary.

European Labour Authority

08-04-2019

The rapid increase in the number of Europeans working in a Member State other than their own, the large number of daily cross-border commuters and the need for information on job opportunities and rights at home and abroad have led the European Commission to propose the creation of a European-level coordinating body. The European Labour Authority (ELA) would replace, reorganise, or cooperate with existing structures dealing with information for individuals and employers, mediate between national ...

The rapid increase in the number of Europeans working in a Member State other than their own, the large number of daily cross-border commuters and the need for information on job opportunities and rights at home and abroad have led the European Commission to propose the creation of a European-level coordinating body. The European Labour Authority (ELA) would replace, reorganise, or cooperate with existing structures dealing with information for individuals and employers, mediate between national labour authorities and social security bodies, and gather viable data on posted workers and commuters. According to the provisional agreement between the Council and the Parliament, reached on 26 February 2019, the main tasks of the ELA will be to facilitate access to information, enhance cooperation, and coordinate and support concerted and joint inspections. Furthermore, the ELA, in cooperation with Member States and social partner organisations, will assess risks and carry out analyses regarding labour mobility and social security coordination. The ELA may also conclude cooperation agreements with other relevant Union agencies. The European Parliament is due to vote on the provisional agreement in plenary in April 2019.

Revising the statutes of three decentralised EU agencies: EU-OSHA, Cedefop and Eurofound

05-12-2018

The European Commission has proposed a revision of the founding regulations of three decentralised agencies (Cedefop, Eurofound and EU-OSHA) in order to update their objectives and tasks, and to define more precisely their roles in supporting the EU institutions and bodies, the Member States, and the social partners, as well as those involved in shaping and implementing policies at European and national levels in their respective policy areas. The agreed texts of the proposals, reached after extensive ...

The European Commission has proposed a revision of the founding regulations of three decentralised agencies (Cedefop, Eurofound and EU-OSHA) in order to update their objectives and tasks, and to define more precisely their roles in supporting the EU institutions and bodies, the Member States, and the social partners, as well as those involved in shaping and implementing policies at European and national levels in their respective policy areas. The agreed texts of the proposals, reached after extensive interinstitutional negotiations, now need to be confirmed in votes expected to take place during the December plenary session.

Proportionality test for new national regulations for professions

08-06-2018

In the EU, professions are regulated at either Union or Member State level. In the latter case, qualification requirements can differ widely between Member States, due to their respective historical development and experience. This can lead to a lack of clarity on the criteria used, and result in fragmentation of the single market. The proposed directive on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions, tabled by the European Commission, intends to harmonise the way in which ...

In the EU, professions are regulated at either Union or Member State level. In the latter case, qualification requirements can differ widely between Member States, due to their respective historical development and experience. This can lead to a lack of clarity on the criteria used, and result in fragmentation of the single market. The proposed directive on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions, tabled by the European Commission, intends to harmonise the way in which proportionality tests are carried out before Member States introduce new regulation on professions. The directive will supplement provisions of Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications, last amended by Directive 2013/55/EU. The European Parliament proposes a specific status for healthcare services, and explicitly addresses gold-plating practices (unnecessary national requirements). With a text agreed between Parliament and Council in trilogue in March, Parliament is due to vote on whether to confirm this text in June. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

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