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Plenary round-up – Brussels, July 2020

13-07-2020

The July 2020 plenary session was the fifth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were present in Brussels. During this session a number of Council and European Commission statements were debated, with the presentation of the programme of activities of the German Presidency a highlight. Members also debated the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 19 June and preparation of ...

The July 2020 plenary session was the fifth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were present in Brussels. During this session a number of Council and European Commission statements were debated, with the presentation of the programme of activities of the German Presidency a highlight. Members also debated the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 19 June and preparation of the meeting of 17-18 July 2020. Members heard Council and Commission statements on Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, on the state of play of Council negotiations on the proposed regulation on the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States, and on cultural recovery in Europe. Parliament also debated a Commission statement commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Members debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on stability and security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey, and on the situation in Belarus. Parliament voted on a number of legislative proposals and resolutions including on the European citizens' initiative, a resolution on the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, and a chemicals strategy for sustainability.

COVID-19: List of the measures taken in relation to the ITRE remit May-June 2020

13-07-2020

This briefing summarises the recent measures taken by the European Commission on matters within the remit of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in response to the urgent and ongoing COVID-19 crisis, while referencing relevant parts of the resolution of the European Parliament of 15 May 2020 on the new multiannual financial framework, own resources and the recovery plan.

This briefing summarises the recent measures taken by the European Commission on matters within the remit of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in response to the urgent and ongoing COVID-19 crisis, while referencing relevant parts of the resolution of the European Parliament of 15 May 2020 on the new multiannual financial framework, own resources and the recovery plan.

EU tourism sector during the coronavirus crisis

10-07-2020

Tourism in the European Union (EU) is one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, with some parts of the sector and some regions more affected than others. Most tourist facilities were closed during the peak of the crisis, and events cancelled or postponed. Tourism businesses are also among the last to resume activities, and even if they do, they still have to apply strict health protocols and containment measures, meaning that they can operate only at restricted capacity. The Organisation ...

Tourism in the European Union (EU) is one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, with some parts of the sector and some regions more affected than others. Most tourist facilities were closed during the peak of the crisis, and events cancelled or postponed. Tourism businesses are also among the last to resume activities, and even if they do, they still have to apply strict health protocols and containment measures, meaning that they can operate only at restricted capacity. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that tourism will decline 60-80 % this year, depending on the length of the health crisis and on the pace of recovery. While aviation, cruise lines, hotels and restaurants are among the most affected, cycle tourism is becoming more popular during the recovery phase. An increasing number of tourists prefer domestic destinations, areas of natural value, active travel and avoiding overcrowded destinations, at least in the short-term. However, some changes might become permanent, such as the rise in purchasing tourism services online or the greater attention paid to hygiene and healthy living. At the peak of the pandemic, most EU countries introduced temporary border controls and measures restricting free movement across the EU. However, the strictness and timeline of these measures varied greatly from one country to another. Recently, many EU destinations have started to lift national confinement and quarantine measures, including restrictions on travel. By 15 June 2020, most EU countries had opened their borders to EU travellers and had begun to plan to open borders to travellers from certain third countries as of 1 July 2020. The EU has acted to support the tourism sector, whether by temporarily changing EU rules, helping to interpret current rules or by providing much-needed financial support. The European Commission helped to repatriate EU travellers. On 13 May 2020, the Commission adopted a comprehensive package of non-legislative measures for the tourism and transport sector, with the aim of helping EU countries to gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism and transport businesses to reopen. The Council and the European Parliament have, in general, welcomed the package, while making further suggestions on how to help the sector.

Cultural tourism out of confinement

10-07-2020

The lockdowns, border closures and other restrictive measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic brought tourist and cultural activities to a halt in most EU Member States between mid-March and mid-June, significantly affecting businesses and consumers. A progressive easing of these restrictive measures is now under way.

The lockdowns, border closures and other restrictive measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic brought tourist and cultural activities to a halt in most EU Member States between mid-March and mid-June, significantly affecting businesses and consumers. A progressive easing of these restrictive measures is now under way.

Coronavirus: Tough decisions ahead [What Think Tanks are thinking]

10-07-2020

As the coronavirus crisis shows no sign of abating globally, many governments around the world face tough choices between easing virus containment measures, in order to allow economic recovery, or keeping these measures in place, to protect their citizens’ health and their healthcare systems from being overwhelmed. They have launched vast financial programmes to support vulnerable households and the newly unemployed, backed banks to keep credit flowing in the economy, and strengthened healthcare ...

As the coronavirus crisis shows no sign of abating globally, many governments around the world face tough choices between easing virus containment measures, in order to allow economic recovery, or keeping these measures in place, to protect their citizens’ health and their healthcare systems from being overwhelmed. They have launched vast financial programmes to support vulnerable households and the newly unemployed, backed banks to keep credit flowing in the economy, and strengthened healthcare systems in anticipation of a possible second wave. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on financing the fight against the coronavirus can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 6 July.

The economy and coronavirus: Weekly Picks 09/07/2020

09-07-2020

This paper provides a summary of recent analyses of the economic and budgetary effects of the coronavirus, the preparations of the next European Council on the recovery instruments, the German Presidency priorities in the area of ECOFIN and of some policy recommendations made in the public domain to mitigate the negative economic effects of the pandemic.

This paper provides a summary of recent analyses of the economic and budgetary effects of the coronavirus, the preparations of the next European Council on the recovery instruments, the German Presidency priorities in the area of ECOFIN and of some policy recommendations made in the public domain to mitigate the negative economic effects of the pandemic.

Amended proposal for the 2021-2027 MFF and 2021-2024 recovery instrument 'Next Generation EU' in figures

07-07-2020

This briefing provides a graphic presentation of the next long-term budget and recovery instrument (Next Generation EU) proposed by the European Commission on 27 May 2020 (COM 2020). By comparing it with the Commission's initial proposal of May 2018 (COM 2018) and the European Parliament's negotiating position, we highlight the changes for the future financing of EU priorities. The preparation of the EU's next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) started formally in May 2018 with the proposal from ...

This briefing provides a graphic presentation of the next long-term budget and recovery instrument (Next Generation EU) proposed by the European Commission on 27 May 2020 (COM 2020). By comparing it with the Commission's initial proposal of May 2018 (COM 2018) and the European Parliament's negotiating position, we highlight the changes for the future financing of EU priorities. The preparation of the EU's next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) started formally in May 2018 with the proposal from the European Commission, more than two years ago. The European Parliament adopted its detailed negotiating position on 14 November 2018. The European Council, however, held its first substantial debate on the proposals only on 20 February 2020, failing to find agreement. The coronavirus pandemic has complicated the situation further. Given the new circumstances, on 27 May 2020 the Commission put forward an amended proposal for the 2021-2027 MFF and, linked to it, a recovery instrument, entitled Next Generation EU (NGEU) for the years 2021-2024.

The EU's public health strategy post-Covid-19

07-07-2020

The coronavirus pandemic has put European health systems under enormous strain, revealing gaps in the way public health emergencies are addressed. The European Commission's proposal for a new EU Health programme, EU4Health, aims to fill these gaps. During the European Parliament's July plenary session, the Commission and the Council are to make statements on the EU's public health strategy after coronavirus, followed by a debate with Members. A resolution is due to be voted later in the week.

The coronavirus pandemic has put European health systems under enormous strain, revealing gaps in the way public health emergencies are addressed. The European Commission's proposal for a new EU Health programme, EU4Health, aims to fill these gaps. During the European Parliament's July plenary session, the Commission and the Council are to make statements on the EU's public health strategy after coronavirus, followed by a debate with Members. A resolution is due to be voted later in the week.

EU-Iran: The way forward - Can the JCPOA survive the Trump presidency?

07-07-2020

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America ( ...

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America (USA) to isolate Iran and of not doing enough to save the JCPOA. The EU, for its part, is concerned about Iran's enrichment activities; growing tensions in the region and Iran's role in this context, including the provision of military, financial and political support to non-state actors in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; and its ballistic missile programme. In 2011, the EU put restrictive measures in place to react to serious human rights violations in Iran. These remain in force. Nevertheless, the EU has continued to engage with Iran, in marked contrast to the USA. Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018, the Trump administration re-imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran and has since then pursued a policy of 'maximum pressure'. The declared goal of the maximum pressure campaign is to push Iran to negotiate a new agreement that would also address Iran's ballistic missile programme, end its support of militant groups in the region, and curb its foreign policy ambitions in western Asia. Instead, the US policy of maximum pressure on Tehran has led to an escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf region, with potentially direct consequences for Europe. With Iran continuing uranium enrichment to levels far exceeding the levels permitted under the JCPOA, and with the USA threatening to trigger the re-imposition of United Nations (UN) sanctions against Iran, further escalation is likely. Security in the EU is linked to the security situation in western Asia. For that reason, Europe should maintain efforts to preserve the JCPOA and seek to reduce tension between Iran and the USA.

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

07-07-2020

With the virulence of the coronavirus pandemic gradually diminishing, and in the light of the restrictive measures adopted by Member States, attention remains on the way chosen by the various states to respond to the crisis. With states at various stages of relaxing emergency constraints, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to last in terms of health, economic, social, psychological and possibly even political impact. Although public attention is now turned towards the widely differing ...

With the virulence of the coronavirus pandemic gradually diminishing, and in the light of the restrictive measures adopted by Member States, attention remains on the way chosen by the various states to respond to the crisis. With states at various stages of relaxing emergency constraints, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to last in terms of health, economic, social, psychological and possibly even political impact. Although public attention is now turned towards the widely differing measures that states are taking in order to live with the virus, new challenges are emerging as international and domestic traffic, trade and free movement of people are re-established, having been all but frozen. In this context, it is still necessary to complete the overview of Member States' constitutional frameworks in response to the coronavirus pandemic with the hope that this might offer some guidance or insight, should a comparable crisis arise in the future. This is the last in a series of four briefings and completes the comparative overview of Member States' institutional responses to the coronavirus crisis by analysing the legislation of Cyprus, Czechia, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania and Slovakia. The first in the series gave an overview of the responses in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain, the second covered Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, Romania and Slovenia, while the third covered Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.