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Foresight within the EU institutions: The ESPAS process so far

20-05-2020

The European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) brings together the various European Union (EU) institutions and bodies in a process of administrative-level cooperation designed to identify and analyse the medium- and long-term trends facing the European Union and their implications for policy-makers. This dialogue was established in the early 2010s as a means of promoting longer-term thinking in the EU policy process and encouraging the Union’s various institutions to cooperate more closely ...

The European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) brings together the various European Union (EU) institutions and bodies in a process of administrative-level cooperation designed to identify and analyse the medium- and long-term trends facing the European Union and their implications for policy-makers. This dialogue was established in the early 2010s as a means of promoting longer-term thinking in the EU policy process and encouraging the Union’s various institutions to cooperate more closely in this field. This EPRS Briefing traces the origins of the ESPAS process and describes its operation to date, with the digital version of the Briefing offering links to some of its key output since 2012. A parallel Briefing will compare and contrast the three Global Trends Reports produced by the ESPAS process, in 2012, 2015 and 2019.

EU budgetary and financial response to the coronavirus crisis

20-05-2020

Within the limits of its powers, the EU has acted quickly to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Showing considerable flexibility, EU institutions have organised a package of measures (some already decided, others proposed or requested), to counter the crisis, drawing both on the EU budget and a wider economic package. Parliament is calling on the European Commission to propose a €2 trillion recovery package, distributed mostly through grants (over which Parliament will maintain ...

Within the limits of its powers, the EU has acted quickly to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Showing considerable flexibility, EU institutions have organised a package of measures (some already decided, others proposed or requested), to counter the crisis, drawing both on the EU budget and a wider economic package. Parliament is calling on the European Commission to propose a €2 trillion recovery package, distributed mostly through grants (over which Parliament will maintain scrutiny) rather than loans, and warns against the presentation of misleading figures. The recovery package should provide real funding to help those hardest-hit, and focus on climate mitigation, digitalisation and a new health programme. The Commission has committed to propose a comprehensive recovery plan, along with revised 2021-2027 MFF proposals, on 27 May 2020. In the meantime, France and Germany have suggested a €500 billion 'recovery fund'.

Discharge for 2018 budget – European Commission and executive agencies

11-05-2020

During the May plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to decide whether to grant discharge for the 2018 financial year to the different institutions and bodies of the European Union (EU). The first item in this process is the report covering the European Commission (including six executive agencies) which is in charge of managing the biggest share of the EU general budget. Separate discharge is granted to the Commission concerning management of the European Development Funds (EDFs), ...

During the May plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to decide whether to grant discharge for the 2018 financial year to the different institutions and bodies of the European Union (EU). The first item in this process is the report covering the European Commission (including six executive agencies) which is in charge of managing the biggest share of the EU general budget. Separate discharge is granted to the Commission concerning management of the European Development Funds (EDFs), which are not part of the general budget as they are established by intergovernmental agreement. The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) recommends that Parliament should grant the Commission and all six executive agencies discharge for 2018. It also recommends granting discharge in respect of the implementation of the operations of the EDFs in 2018.

Establishing an MFF contingency plan

11-05-2020

The EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) should start on 1 January 2021, but the negotiations have encountered delays in the European Council and Council. During the May plenary part-session, the European Parliament is expected to vote a report by its Committee on Budgets, asking the Commission to prepare urgently a legislative proposal for a contingency plan should the post-2020 MFF not be agreed on time. The objective would be to provide a safety net to protect beneficiaries of EU funds ...

The EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) should start on 1 January 2021, but the negotiations have encountered delays in the European Council and Council. During the May plenary part-session, the European Parliament is expected to vote a report by its Committee on Budgets, asking the Commission to prepare urgently a legislative proposal for a contingency plan should the post-2020 MFF not be agreed on time. The objective would be to provide a safety net to protect beneficiaries of EU funds, while ensuring that the EU budget can keep contributing to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its socio-economic consequences.

Discharge procedure for the EU Budget: Political scrutiny of budgetary implementation

05-05-2020

The European Commission is ultimately responsible for the execution of the European Union's budget. However, the process also involves a range of other players, including Member States, to which the Commission delegates implementing tasks relating to a significant share of the budget. Each year, the discharge procedure ensures that there is ex-post democratic oversight at political level of how the EU's annual budget has been used. It aims to verify whether implementation was in accordance with relevant ...

The European Commission is ultimately responsible for the execution of the European Union's budget. However, the process also involves a range of other players, including Member States, to which the Commission delegates implementing tasks relating to a significant share of the budget. Each year, the discharge procedure ensures that there is ex-post democratic oversight at political level of how the EU's annual budget has been used. It aims to verify whether implementation was in accordance with relevant rules (compliance), including the principles of sound financial management (performance). The decision on whether to grant discharge for the execution of the EU budget is made by the European Parliament, which acts on a non-binding recommendation by the Council, the other arm of the EU budgetary authority. Another key institution is the European Court of Auditors, the EU's independent external auditor, whose reports are a fundamental part of the procedure. The discharge procedure has proved to be a powerful tool, which has had an impact on the evolution of the EU's budgetary system, while helping to increase the Parliament's political leverage. Recent years have shown a trend towards a greater focus on results and performance, strongly supported and promoted by the European Parliament. For example, the 2018 version of the EU's Financial Regulation simplified the rules for budgetary implementation and introduced the 'single audit' approach to shared management. Another noteworthy issue is the question of how to ensure EU-level democratic scrutiny of financial tools set up to respond to crises either outside the EU's institutional framework (e.g. the European Stability Mechanism) or at least partially outside the EU budget (e.g. EU trust funds). This Briefing updates a previous edition of April 2016.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 23 April 2020

29-04-2020

At the European Council's video-conference meeting on 23 April, EU leaders demonstrated greater willingness to achieve a coordinated response at EU-level to face the coronavirus crisis than had previously been the case. Although concrete decisions were postponed, Heads of State or Government adopted a more united approach and took decisive steps towards collective action. Notably, they welcomed both the 'Joint European Roadmap towards Lifting Covid-19 Containment Measures' and the 'Roadmap for Recovery ...

At the European Council's video-conference meeting on 23 April, EU leaders demonstrated greater willingness to achieve a coordinated response at EU-level to face the coronavirus crisis than had previously been the case. Although concrete decisions were postponed, Heads of State or Government adopted a more united approach and took decisive steps towards collective action. Notably, they welcomed both the 'Joint European Roadmap towards Lifting Covid-19 Containment Measures' and the 'Roadmap for Recovery', but also agreed to 'work towards establishing' an urgently needed recovery fund 'dedicated to dealing with this unprecedented crisis'. However, whilst asking the European Commission to shape the recovery strategy and to clarify the link between the Recovery Fund and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), EU leaders gave little guidance on specific details, such as the total amount, whether it would provide loans or grants, or on a precise timetable. Furthermore, EU leaders called on Turkey to end its illegal drilling activities off Cyprus in the island's Exclusive Economic Zone. They also announced a video-conference between EU Heads of State or Government and their counterparts from the Western Balkans, on 6 May 2020, date of the previously planned EU-Western Balkans Summit.

Outlook for the European Council video-conference of 23 April 2020

21-04-2020

The European Council video-conference meeting on 23 April 2020 is expected to shift EU leaders’ attention away from immediate and short-term priorities, such as limiting the spread of the coronavirus, to a longer-term strategic approach focused on a recovery strategy for the European Union, and the financing thereof. The recovery strategy could be based on four pillars: 1) the internal market, including the Green Deal, the digital agenda and the EU’s strategic autonomy; 2) an investment strategy, ...

The European Council video-conference meeting on 23 April 2020 is expected to shift EU leaders’ attention away from immediate and short-term priorities, such as limiting the spread of the coronavirus, to a longer-term strategic approach focused on a recovery strategy for the European Union, and the financing thereof. The recovery strategy could be based on four pillars: 1) the internal market, including the Green Deal, the digital agenda and the EU’s strategic autonomy; 2) an investment strategy, to be included in the next seven-year EU budget and reflected in the work programme of the European Investment Bank; 3) a global recovery strategy reinforcing the external responsibility of the EU and promoting multilateralism; and 4) strengthening resilience and governance for a stronger EU after the crisis. As the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the seven years from 2021 to 2027, which has yet to be agreed, touches upon all four pillars of the recovery strategy, EU leaders will engage in a strategic discussion on the MFF during their video-conference.

The EU's 2020 budget: Response to the coronavirus pandemic

16-04-2020

Acting within the limits of its powers, the European Union (EU) responded immediately at the start of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak to help repatriate people, coordinate measures to limit the spread of the virus, distribute medical equipment and promote the necessary research. The European Commission has put forward a range of measures, adjusted some of its policies and mobilised EU funds to assist EU citizens and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Financial support is ...

Acting within the limits of its powers, the European Union (EU) responded immediately at the start of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak to help repatriate people, coordinate measures to limit the spread of the virus, distribute medical equipment and promote the necessary research. The European Commission has put forward a range of measures, adjusted some of its policies and mobilised EU funds to assist EU citizens and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Financial support is also proposed for third countries. At the time of writing, a package of €40.4 billion to support healthcare systems and lessen the economic impact of the pandemic in Member States and third counties is proposed under the EU budget. This includes funds redirected within programmes and additional budgetary support. An initial aid package of €232 million was followed by a proposal to mobilise a further €128.6 million for civil protection in the EU and abroad. The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative has opened up €8 billion in liquidity for Member States, supplemented by €29 billion in EU structural funding, to be redirected to healthcare investments to fight the coronavirus, and to provide support for the labour market and business, particularly SMEs, in all affected sectors. The emergency support instrument and the Union's civil protection mechanism will provide further €3 billion in order to meet the needs of European health systems in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, making extensive use of the flexibilities embedded in the EU budget. A further contribution from the EU budget will be included in the EU's global response for partner countries, which will provide financial support of more than €15.6 billion to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus. From the start of the crisis, the European Parliament has been calling for bold and ambitious financial aid and for an ambitious future budget to make the EU stronger. Now is the time to mobilise funds and think ahead how best to shape a strong long-term budget for the EU.

European Green Deal Investment Plan: Main elements and possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic

16-04-2020

The von der Leyen Commission launched the European Green Deal as the new growth strategy of the European Union (EU), with a view to promoting the transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050. Confirming the importance of financial resources for such a major objective, its investment pillar was the first initiative of the strategy to be presented. The European Green Deal Investment Plan, also known as the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, aims to contribute to financing a sustainable transition ...

The von der Leyen Commission launched the European Green Deal as the new growth strategy of the European Union (EU), with a view to promoting the transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050. Confirming the importance of financial resources for such a major objective, its investment pillar was the first initiative of the strategy to be presented. The European Green Deal Investment Plan, also known as the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, aims to contribute to financing a sustainable transition, while supporting the regions and communities most exposed to its impact. By combining legislative and non-legislative initiatives, the plan addresses three aspects: 1) mobilising funding worth at least €1 trillion from the EU budget and other public and private sources over the next decade; 2) putting sustainability at the heart of investment decisions across all sectors; and 3) providing support to public administrations and project promoters to create a robust pipeline of sustainable projects. The debate on the investment plan is interlinked with the ongoing negotiations on the EU’s 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which requires the European Parliament’s consent and unanimity in the Council. Parliament, which is traditionally a strong advocate of climate and environmental objectives, has called for an ambitious MFF, with resources commensurate with the goal of facilitating a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy. Commentators have identified both positive elements and possible weaknesses in the Commission’s plan, arguing that it is a step in the right direction but would provide only part of the resources needed to meet the current climate targets for 2030. The impact of the pandemic has raised concerns that decarbonisation strategies could be derailed. However, analysts and stakeholders generally agree on their continued relevance, arguing that green investments from public and private sources must play a central role in any economic recovery plan.

Amending Budget No 2/2020: Emergency support to the health sector to respond to the coronavirus outbreak

15-04-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 2/2020 (DAB 2/2020) aims to finance proposed action under the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) and the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (rescEU) to support Member States’ healthcare systems in fighting the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The European Parliament is expected to vote, under the urgent procedure, on the Council position on DAB 2/2020 during the 16-17 April plenary session.

Draft Amending Budget No 2/2020 (DAB 2/2020) aims to finance proposed action under the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) and the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (rescEU) to support Member States’ healthcare systems in fighting the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The European Parliament is expected to vote, under the urgent procedure, on the Council position on DAB 2/2020 during the 16-17 April plenary session.

Gaidāmie notikumi

03-06-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square
Cits pasākums -
EPRS
11-06-2020
CONT Public Hearing: Implementation of EU funds
Uzklausīšana -
CONT
11-06-2020
STOA Roundtable on Digital Sovereign Identity
Darbseminārs -
STOA

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