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An overview of the Stability and Growth Pact - September 2019

10-09-2019

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is the legal framework (based on primary and secondary EU law) that seeks to ensure sustainable public finances in the interest of the stability of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It consists of two main building blocks: the preventive arm and the corrective arm. Stylised overviews, including on flexibility provisions (endorsed by the Council) within the existing rules of the SGP, are provided in the annexes. The main sources used in this briefing are primary ...

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is the legal framework (based on primary and secondary EU law) that seeks to ensure sustainable public finances in the interest of the stability of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It consists of two main building blocks: the preventive arm and the corrective arm. Stylised overviews, including on flexibility provisions (endorsed by the Council) within the existing rules of the SGP, are provided in the annexes. The main sources used in this briefing are primary Union law (Articles 121 and 126 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), secondary Union law (the amended Regulations (EC) 1466/97 and 1467/97 as well as the Regulation (EU) No 1173/2011), the Code of Conduction on the implementation of the SGP and the Commission Communication entitled ‘Making the best use of flexibility within the existing rules of the SGP’.

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure – Overview

14-05-2019

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) is a policy tool introduced within the reinforced economic governance framework adopted in 2011. The MIP aims at preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances in Member States, with specific attention to imbalances with potential spillovers effects on other Member States.

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) is a policy tool introduced within the reinforced economic governance framework adopted in 2011. The MIP aims at preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances in Member States, with specific attention to imbalances with potential spillovers effects on other Member States.

2016 report on protection of the European Union's financial interests – fight against fraud

25-04-2018

In 2016, 19 080 irregularities affecting the EU budget were reported to the Commission, which is a decrease of 15 % in comparison to 2015. Furthermore, the value of irregularities decreased by 8 % from €3.21 billion in 2015 to €2.97 billion in 2016. Of the total, 1 410 fraudulent irregularities were reported, involving €391 million.

In 2016, 19 080 irregularities affecting the EU budget were reported to the Commission, which is a decrease of 15 % in comparison to 2015. Furthermore, the value of irregularities decreased by 8 % from €3.21 billion in 2015 to €2.97 billion in 2016. Of the total, 1 410 fraudulent irregularities were reported, involving €391 million.

The EU's Russia policy: Five guiding principles

08-02-2018

While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse, after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict. In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example: Russia's military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics. In the short term, an easing of tensions seems unlikely. In March ...

While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse, after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict. In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example: Russia's military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics. In the short term, an easing of tensions seems unlikely. In March 2016, EU foreign ministers and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, agreed on five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations: full implementation of the Minsk agreements; closer ties with Russia's former Soviet neighbours; strengthening EU resilience to Russian threats; selective engagement with Russia on certain issues such as counter-terrorism; and support for people-to-people contacts. Implementing each of these principles faces major difficulties. The EU is unlikely to lift sanctions against Russia while implementation of the Minsk agreements remains stalled; the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood remains a zone of confrontation; EU security is threatened by dependence on Russian energy imports and the destabilising effects of aggressive propaganda; EU-Russia cooperation on international issues has become a victim of tensions between the two sides; repressive Russian legislation obstructs EU support for Russian civil society; diplomatic tensions are mirrored by mutual suspicion between ordinary EU citizens and Russians. This is an updated edition of a briefing from October 2016.

Sanctions over Ukraine: Impact on Russia

17-01-2018

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public ...

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public opinion, which continues to staunchly back the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine. Despite Western efforts to isolate Russia, the country is playing an increasingly prominent role on the global stage. On the other hand, sectoral sanctions have proved painful, aggravating an economic downturn triggered by falling oil prices, from which the country has only just begun to recover. Sanctions have affected the Russian economy in various ways. The main short-term impact comes from restrictions on Western lending and investment in Russia. Oil and gas production remains unaffected for the time being, but in the long term energy exports are likely to suffer. Meanwhile, Russian counter-sanctions are benefiting the country's agricultural sector, but consumers are losing out in terms of choice and price. Quantitative estimates of the impact are difficult, but most observers agree that sanctions are costing Russia billions of euros a year and holding back a return to higher rates of economic growth. This is an updated edition of a briefing from March 2016, PE 579.084.

Outcome of the European Council of 20-21 October 2016

03-11-2016

Migration was the main topic at the European Council of 20-21 October 2016, and featured most prominently in its conclusions. Other topics discussed were global and economic issues, external relations and trade issues, in particular the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada. This was the first formal European Council meeting since the informal meeting of 27 Heads of State or Government on 16 September 2016 in Bratislava, and it demonstrated how the meetings in this format are shaping ...

Migration was the main topic at the European Council of 20-21 October 2016, and featured most prominently in its conclusions. Other topics discussed were global and economic issues, external relations and trade issues, in particular the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada. This was the first formal European Council meeting since the informal meeting of 27 Heads of State or Government on 16 September 2016 in Bratislava, and it demonstrated how the meetings in this format are shaping the European Council’s agenda. The European Council President, Donald Tusk, had already made clear that the Bratislava declaration and roadmap would guide leaders’ actions at their regular European Council meetings.

Exchange of Views with Spain and Portugal on Possible Suspension of European Structural and Investment Funds - REGI-ECON on 8 November 2016

28-10-2016

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 establishing that Spain and Portugal did not take effective action under the Excessive Deficit Procedure, the Commission shall make a proposal to suspend, part or all, of the commitments or payments for the programmes related to the European Structural and Investment Funds for these two Member States. In this context, the European Parliament invited the Commission for a structured dialogue on 3 October 2016. Further to this dialogue, the European Parliament ...

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 establishing that Spain and Portugal did not take effective action under the Excessive Deficit Procedure, the Commission shall make a proposal to suspend, part or all, of the commitments or payments for the programmes related to the European Structural and Investment Funds for these two Member States. In this context, the European Parliament invited the Commission for a structured dialogue on 3 October 2016. Further to this dialogue, the European Parliament has invited for an exchange of views Luis de Guindos Jurado, Minister of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain and Mário Centeno, Minister of Finance of Portugal. This note is an updated version of an earlier EGOV analysis in the context of the above-mentioned structured dialogue. The cut-off date for information included in this analysis was 27 October 2016.

Counter-terrorist sanctions regimes: Legal framework and challenges at UN and EU levels

20-10-2016

Targeted sanctions against individuals and entities suspected of supporting terrorism are an important part of the United Nations Security Council's counter-terrorism programme. Under the main counter-terrorist sanctions regimes created under Chapter VII of the United Nations (UN) Charter, UN member states are obliged to impose an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on persons and entities designated by the United National Security Council (UNSC), and also to take all necessary domestic measures ...

Targeted sanctions against individuals and entities suspected of supporting terrorism are an important part of the United Nations Security Council's counter-terrorism programme. Under the main counter-terrorist sanctions regimes created under Chapter VII of the United Nations (UN) Charter, UN member states are obliged to impose an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on persons and entities designated by the United National Security Council (UNSC), and also to take all necessary domestic measures to criminalise support of terrorism and to establish their own sanctions systems. The European Union (EU) implements all UN Security Council-imposed sanctions and has also instituted its own autonomous counter-terrorist restrictive measures regime. However, both the UN and EU sanctions regimes have been severely criticised for infringing key fundamental rights, including due process rights. Legal challenges before national and regional courts prompted a series of procedural reforms, but critics still consider the regimes to fall short of accepted standards. The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) has been the leading jurisdiction to perform reviews of counter-terrorist sanctions, but the secrecy surrounding listings has impeded review of cases on the merits. Nevertheless, the CJEU has repeatedly annulled restrictive measures on procedural grounds, and in the process, affirmed the autonomy of the EU legal order. It is argued that, until the UNSC allows for judicial review, counter-terrorist sanctions will continue to be contested both in court and in the political arena.

Russia and security in Europe [What Think Tanks are thinking]

14-10-2016

Russia's assertive foreign policy, its annexation of Crimea and conflict with Ukraine have challenged the post-Cold War security order in Europe, highlighting the need for NATO and the European Union to bolster defence strategies, according to many analysts and politicians. The EU, along with the United States, has imposed sanctions against Moscow, which look unlikely to be lifted any time soon, especially as Russia's recent support for bombardment of civilians in the war-torn Syria has outraged ...

Russia's assertive foreign policy, its annexation of Crimea and conflict with Ukraine have challenged the post-Cold War security order in Europe, highlighting the need for NATO and the European Union to bolster defence strategies, according to many analysts and politicians. The EU, along with the United States, has imposed sanctions against Moscow, which look unlikely to be lifted any time soon, especially as Russia's recent support for bombardment of civilians in the war-torn Syria has outraged many countries, and progress on implementing the Minsk Agreements on Eastern Ukraine has stalled. This note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports by major international think tanks, which discuss Russia's policies and how to respond to them. More papers on security in Europe can be found in a July 2016  edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking'. More links to papers on Russia's policies are available in an October 2015 edition of the series.

Structured Dialogue with the Commission on Suspension of European Structural and Investment Funds to Spain and Portugal

30-09-2016

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 establishing that Spain and Portugal did not take effective action under the Excessive Deficit Procedure, the Commission shall make a proposal to suspend, part or all, of the commitments and payments for the programmes related to the European Structural and Investment Funds for these two Member States. In this context, the European Parliament invited the Commission for a structured dialogue.

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 establishing that Spain and Portugal did not take effective action under the Excessive Deficit Procedure, the Commission shall make a proposal to suspend, part or all, of the commitments and payments for the programmes related to the European Structural and Investment Funds for these two Member States. In this context, the European Parliament invited the Commission for a structured dialogue.

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