ThinkTank logo Id-dokumenti li jgħinu jsawru l-leġiżlazzjoni l-ġdida tal-UE
Data tal-pubblikazzjoni: 02-04-2020

Protecting the EU agri-food supply chain in the face of COVID-19

02-04-2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU countries' governments have taken a host of measures, including reintroducing border controls and setting limits to free movement of people within their territory, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease. These measures have had a pronounced impact on the EU agri-food supply chain. The EU food system is a complex web of inter-related sectors that ensure both the sustenance of EU consumers and the achievement of food security, one of the EU Treaty's ...

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU countries' governments have taken a host of measures, including reintroducing border controls and setting limits to free movement of people within their territory, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease. These measures have had a pronounced impact on the EU agri-food supply chain. The EU food system is a complex web of inter-related sectors that ensure both the sustenance of EU consumers and the achievement of food security, one of the EU Treaty's objectives. This system relies on about 10 million farms, several hundred thousand food and beverage processing companies, thousands of businesses manufacturing agricultural inputs or handling packaging, transport, storage and distribution, as well as wholesalers, markets and other retailers. When the functioning of any one sector of the food chain is hindered, the whole chain can be disrupted. For instance, as highlighted by sectoral stakeholders and then addressed by EU-level measures, recent national restrictions have contributed to problems such as blocked transport routes, long queues at border checks for commodity transport, and shortages of seasonal farm workers who can no longer move freely from one Member State to another. Specific schemes have been set up at EU level as a lifeline to farms and companies from the agri-food sectors that have been the hardest hit and are in greatest need of support. The European Parliament voted the first emergency measures to combat COVID-19 at an extraordinary plenary meeting on 26 March. Members of the Parliament's Agricultural and Rural Development Committee have put forward proposals on further measures. There has also been an overhaul of EU farm policy rules as a first step to address the emergency at EU level. How these rules will evolve further depends on the concerted efforts of all parties concerned: stakeholders, the EU and national policy-makers. Unified action at EU level is also required to complete the legislative process for the adoption of the 2021-2027 long-term EU budget and future EU farm policy, discussion of which has slowed down due to the crisis.

Joint debt instruments: A recurrent proposal to strengthen economic and monetary union

02-04-2020

The idea of issuing joint debt instruments, in particular between euro-area countries, is far from new. It has long been linked in various ways to the Union's financial integration process and in particular to the implementation of economic and monetary union. In the first decade of the euro, the rationale for creating joint bonds was to reduce market fragmentation and thus obtain efficiency gains. Following the financial and sovereign debt crises, further reasons included managing the crises and ...

The idea of issuing joint debt instruments, in particular between euro-area countries, is far from new. It has long been linked in various ways to the Union's financial integration process and in particular to the implementation of economic and monetary union. In the first decade of the euro, the rationale for creating joint bonds was to reduce market fragmentation and thus obtain efficiency gains. Following the financial and sovereign debt crises, further reasons included managing the crises and preventing future sovereign debt crises, reinforcing financial stability in the euro area, facilitating transmission of monetary policy, breaking the sovereign-bank nexus and enhancing the international role of the euro. While joint debt instruments present considerable potential advantages, they also present challenges. These include coordination issues and reduced flexibility for Member States in issuing debt, the potential to undermine fiscal discipline by removing incentives for sound budgetary policies, and the fact that adoption of joint debt instruments would eventually entail the difficult political choice of transferring sovereignty from the national to the EU level. In the context of the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, joint debt instruments have once more come to the fore as a potential medium-term solution to help Member States rebuild their economies following the crisis. In Eurogroup and European Council meetings, the solution is not favoured by all Member States and alternative – possibly complementary – approaches have been proposed, such as a credit line through the European Stability Mechanism.

Data tal-pubblikazzjoni: 01-04-2020

Repatriation of EU citizens during the COVID-19 crisis: The role of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism

01-04-2020

According to official estimates, the COVID-19 crisis has left more than 200 000 EU citizens stranded outside the borders of the EU. EU Member States have been making great efforts to retrieve them, often with the help of the EU. The priority has been to return EU citizens by using commercial flights, but as the conditions continue to worsen, other resources have had to be utilised. EU Member States can activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to facilitate the repatriation of their and other EU ...

According to official estimates, the COVID-19 crisis has left more than 200 000 EU citizens stranded outside the borders of the EU. EU Member States have been making great efforts to retrieve them, often with the help of the EU. The priority has been to return EU citizens by using commercial flights, but as the conditions continue to worsen, other resources have had to be utilised. EU Member States can activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to facilitate the repatriation of their and other EU citizens, if the Emergency Crisis Response Centre assesses that there is no better way. So far, at least 15 countries are reported to have requested the help of the Civil Protection Mechanism, using it to organise flights co-funded with EU funds, and so far repatriating 4 382 EU citizens (and 550 others), first from China, and then from a wide range of countries, including Cape Verde, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, the Philippines, Tunisia, the USA and Vietnam. More flights are scheduled to bring people back from other locations. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been used more than 300 times to respond to disasters since its establishment in 2001. All the EU Member States, together with Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey, participate in the Mechanism, but it can also be activated by any country in the world and by certain international organisations. Once the Mechanism is activated, a number of steps follow. The Emergency Crisis Response Centre, as part of the Mechanism, decides on the best response and coordinates it. The EU funds up to 75 % of the costs of the deployment of resources. The 2019 upgrade of the Mechanism boosted the joint capacity for responding to disasters, including medical emergencies. It created rescEU, a reserve of capacities, which has now been augmented to include a stockpile of medical equipment for the COVID-19 response, 90 % of which is funded by the EU. On 27 March 2020, the Commission proposed to further boost the budget for repatriation and for the rescEU stockpile.

Bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean

01-04-2020

The eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna was long a symbol of overfishing and fisheries mismanagement. Over the past decade, the stock has recovered, following the rebuilding measures introduced by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The European Union is now transposing the ICCAT recommendation to move from the recovery measures to a bluefin tuna management plan.

The eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna was long a symbol of overfishing and fisheries mismanagement. Over the past decade, the stock has recovered, following the rebuilding measures introduced by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The European Union is now transposing the ICCAT recommendation to move from the recovery measures to a bluefin tuna management plan.

Data tal-pubblikazzjoni: 31-03-2020

Collective intelligence at EU level: Social and democratic dimensions

31-03-2020

Humans are among the many living species capable of collaborative and imaginative thinking. While it is widely agreed among scholars that this capacity has contributed to making humans the dominant species, other crucial questions remain open to debate. Is it possible to encourage large groups of people to engage in collective thinking? Is it possible to coordinate citizens to find solutions to address global challenges? Some scholars claim that large groups of independent, motivated, and well-informed ...

Humans are among the many living species capable of collaborative and imaginative thinking. While it is widely agreed among scholars that this capacity has contributed to making humans the dominant species, other crucial questions remain open to debate. Is it possible to encourage large groups of people to engage in collective thinking? Is it possible to coordinate citizens to find solutions to address global challenges? Some scholars claim that large groups of independent, motivated, and well-informed people can, collectively, make better decisions than isolated individuals can – what is known as 'collective intelligence.' The social dimension of collective intelligence mainly relates to social aspects of the economy and of innovation. It shows that a holistic approach to innovation – one that includes not only technological but also social aspects – can greatly contribute to the EU's goal of promoting a just transition for everyone to a sustainable and green economy in the digital age. The EU has been taking concrete action to promote social innovation by supporting the development of its theory and practice. Mainly through funding programmes, it helps to seek new types of partners and build new capacity – and thus shape the future of local and national innovations aimed at societal needs. The democratic dimension suggests that the power of the collective can be leveraged so as to improve public decision-making systems. Supported by technology, policy-makers can harness the 'civic surplus' of citizens – thus providing smarter solutions to regulatory challenges. This is particularly relevant at EU level in view of the planned Conference on the Future of Europe, aimed at engaging communities at large and making EU decision-making more inclusive and participatory. The current coronavirus crisis is likely to change society and our economy in ways as yet too early to predict, but recovery after the crisis will require new ways of thinking and acting to overcome common challenges, and thus making use of our collective intelligence should be more urgent than ever. In the longer term, in order to mobilise collective intelligence across the EU and to fully exploit its innovative potential, the EU needs to strengthen its education policies and promote a shared understanding of a holistic approach to innovation and of collective intelligence – and thus become a 'global brain,' with a solid institutional set-up at the centre of a subsidised experimentation process that meets the challenges imposed by modern-day transformations.

Towards a renewed territorial agenda for the EU

31-03-2020

The main objective of the territorial agenda is to strengthen territorial cohesion, an EU principle that seeks to ensure the balanced development of the EU and reduce its regional disparities. Agreed in May 2011 and the culmination of a process begun many years earlier with the European Spatial Development Perspective, the Territorial Agenda 2020 is currently being revised with a view to establishing a continued role for this initiative within the EU's new cohesion policy framework beyond 2020. Aimed ...

The main objective of the territorial agenda is to strengthen territorial cohesion, an EU principle that seeks to ensure the balanced development of the EU and reduce its regional disparities. Agreed in May 2011 and the culmination of a process begun many years earlier with the European Spatial Development Perspective, the Territorial Agenda 2020 is currently being revised with a view to establishing a continued role for this initiative within the EU's new cohesion policy framework beyond 2020. Aimed at ensuring the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy in line with the principle of territorial cohesion, the Territorial Agenda 2020 strives to promote the integration of the territorial dimension across many different policies. To deliver on this ambition, it has established an action-oriented political framework based around six territorial priorities and a series of implementation mechanisms to make EU territorial cohesion a reality. However, with the territorial agenda a low political priority in past years, implementation has remained weak, while the process itself has been beset by challenges, such as fragile intergovernmental cooperation and a low level of awareness. This situation has been compounded by the complex and abstract nature of the territorial agenda, making it difficult to communicate its aims and objectives. Set up in 2018 during the Austrian Presidency, an intergovernmental taskforce is currently leading the work on the renewal of the territorial agenda, the aim being to conclude the process under the German Presidency, with the signing of a 2030 territorial agenda in December 2020. A draft version of the territorial agenda was published in December 2019, underpinned by two overarching priorities, a 'just Europe' and a 'green Europe', establishing a clear link with the European Commission's current priorities and its strategy for sustainable growth, the European Green Deal. While this structure could well help embed the territorial agenda more firmly within the EU's policy-making system, increasing its relevance and improving its visibility, the ongoing coronavirus crisis looks set to overshadow these discussions in the coming months. This briefing has been drafted at the request of a member of the Committee of the Regions, under the Cooperation Agreement between Parliament and the Committee.

Rethinking education in the digital age

31-03-2020

Traditional roles, content and methods of education are being challenged – today’s education needs to prepare students for changing tasks and roles both in the labour market and as European citizens. Rethinking education in the digital age should become a central matter for today’s policy-makers and matters for safeguarding European values such as equality, democracy and the rule of law. The current study presents policy options on the basis of a thorough analysis of current strengths and weaknesses ...

Traditional roles, content and methods of education are being challenged – today’s education needs to prepare students for changing tasks and roles both in the labour market and as European citizens. Rethinking education in the digital age should become a central matter for today’s policy-makers and matters for safeguarding European values such as equality, democracy and the rule of law. The current study presents policy options on the basis of a thorough analysis of current strengths and weaknesses, as well as future opportunities and threats for education in the digital age.

Awtur estern

DG, EPRS_This study has been written by VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit of the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Handbook on the incompatibilities and immunity of the Members of the European Parliament

16-03-2020

Upon request by the Committee on Legal Affairs, this handbook, provided by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, summarises, in its first part, the EU legal framework on the incompatibilities and immunity of Members of the European Parliament. Based on national reports, the second part of the handbook gives an overview, for each EU Member State, of the relevant national provisions on the composition of national governments and parliaments as well as those on national ...

Upon request by the Committee on Legal Affairs, this handbook, provided by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, summarises, in its first part, the EU legal framework on the incompatibilities and immunity of Members of the European Parliament. Based on national reports, the second part of the handbook gives an overview, for each EU Member State, of the relevant national provisions on the composition of national governments and parliaments as well as those on national parliamentary immunities. This handbook will be updated regularly based on information received; please hold as reference the date of edition.

Data tal-pubblikazzjoni: 30-03-2020

Carbon emissions pricing: Some points of reference

30-03-2020

The need to do more to mitigate climate change resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in particular in terms of pricing, is widely accepted. Several countries around the globe are either planning to implement or have introduced carbon-emission pricing measures (i.e. taxing or internalising negative externalities), with varying scope (upstream, downstream), coverage (sector exclusions) and boundaries (subnational or national areas). The objective is to reduce emissions in line with medium-term ...

The need to do more to mitigate climate change resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in particular in terms of pricing, is widely accepted. Several countries around the globe are either planning to implement or have introduced carbon-emission pricing measures (i.e. taxing or internalising negative externalities), with varying scope (upstream, downstream), coverage (sector exclusions) and boundaries (subnational or national areas). The objective is to reduce emissions in line with medium-term climate change mitigation pathways. There are broadly two approaches: the emissions trading system (cap and trade) and carbon taxing. The existing measures are assessed regularly so as to be made more effective as regards emission reductions. The number of jurisdictions having adopted or intending to adopt carbon pricing has increased but still remains limited, in particular as regards the level of emissions covered. One concern is to address 'carbon leakage', a term that describes shifts in economic activities and/or changes in investment configurations, directly or indirectly causing GHG emissions to be moved away from a jurisdiction with GHG constraints to another jurisdiction with fewer or no GHG constraints. Measures addressing carbon leakage have complementary objectives and outcomes that need to be addressed in their design. They address competitiveness and trade concerns, while their central raison d’être is climate change mitigation. They are now at the top of the EU agenda.

Charles Michel as President of the European Council: The first 100+ days

30-03-2020

On 1 December 2019, Charles Michel, previously prime minister of Belgium, became the third President of the European Council. He began his term in dynamic mode, aiming to make his mark in foreign affairs and develop the EU's interinstitutional relations. While pursuing his predecessors' efforts to secure unity between EU leaders, Michel has applied his own style, visible notably in his discourse, social media presence and transparency efforts. An analysis of the President's Twitter activities shows ...

On 1 December 2019, Charles Michel, previously prime minister of Belgium, became the third President of the European Council. He began his term in dynamic mode, aiming to make his mark in foreign affairs and develop the EU's interinstitutional relations. While pursuing his predecessors' efforts to secure unity between EU leaders, Michel has applied his own style, visible notably in his discourse, social media presence and transparency efforts. An analysis of the President's Twitter activities shows his strong focus on EU-Africa relations, climate and, most recently, COVID-19.

Infographics

Pubblikazzjonijiet tat-Think Tank

Il-kontenut tad-dokumenti kollha inklużi fis-sit elettroniku tat-Think Tank huma r-responsabilità unika tal-awtur, u kwalunkwe opinjoni espressa fihom mhux neċessarjament tirrappreżenta l-pożizzjoni uffiċjali tal-Parlament Ewropew. Huwa indirizzat lill-Membri u lill-persunal tal-PE għall-ħidma parlamentari tagħhom.

It-Think Tank hu dwar...