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Sustainable finance – EU taxonomy: A framework to facilitate sustainable investment

27-07-2020

In March 2018, the European Commission presented an action plan on sustainable finance, in order to facilitate investments in sustainable projects and assets across the EU. In May 2018, the Commission put forward a package of three proposals, including measures to create a sustainable taxonomy for the EU; provide clarity on how environmental, social and governance factors can be taken into account for investment decisions; and establish low-carbon benchmarks. The first proposal focuses on establishing ...

In March 2018, the European Commission presented an action plan on sustainable finance, in order to facilitate investments in sustainable projects and assets across the EU. In May 2018, the Commission put forward a package of three proposals, including measures to create a sustainable taxonomy for the EU; provide clarity on how environmental, social and governance factors can be taken into account for investment decisions; and establish low-carbon benchmarks. The first proposal focuses on establishing a common language for sustainable finance (e.g. a unified EU classification system, or taxonomy) through a framework of uniform criteria, as a way to determine whether a given economic activity is environmentally sustainable. On 11 March 2019, the ECON-ENVI joint committee adopted a report on the Commission proposal, calling for a number of changes. On 28 March 2019, the Parliament adopted its position at first reading. After interinstitutional negotiations, on 17 June 2020, the Parliament adopted the compromise text at second reading. The final act was published in the Official Journal on 22 June, and applies as of 12 July although certain provisions apply only as of January 2022 or January 2023. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Just transition in EU regions

28-01-2020

The EU plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries. As part of the European Green Deal, the new Commission has announced a 'Just Transition Mechanism' of €100 billion to support the territories most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.

The EU plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries. As part of the European Green Deal, the new Commission has announced a 'Just Transition Mechanism' of €100 billion to support the territories most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.

The von der Leyen Commission's priorities for 2019-2024

28-01-2020

In her statements to the European Parliament in July and November 2019, as candidate for European Commission President and President-elect respectively, Ursula von der Leyen outlined the six political priorities that would shape the working programme of the European Commission over the next five years. While the former Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, had claimed to lead a 'political Commission', his successor, Ursula von der Leyen, has pledged to lead a 'geopolitical Commission'. Such ...

In her statements to the European Parliament in July and November 2019, as candidate for European Commission President and President-elect respectively, Ursula von der Leyen outlined the six political priorities that would shape the working programme of the European Commission over the next five years. While the former Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, had claimed to lead a 'political Commission', his successor, Ursula von der Leyen, has pledged to lead a 'geopolitical Commission'. Such a Commission will have a political agenda in which reinforcing the EU's role as a relevant international actor, and trying to shape a better global order through reinforcing multilateralism, is to become a key priority ('A stronger Europe in the world'). The other main political priorities of the Commission are brought together under five broad headings: 'A European Green Deal', 'A Europe fit for the digital age', 'An economy that works for people', 'A new push for European democracy', and 'Promoting the European way of life'. Together they define the framework within which the Commission will act in the coming five years. The structure and working methods announced by von der Leyen show that her Commission will differ from its predecessors in a number of ways.

Sustainable finance and benchmarks: Low-carbon benchmarks and positive-carbon-impact benchmarks

20-01-2020

In May 2018, the European Commission presented a package of measures on the financing of sustainable growth. The package includes three proposals aimed at establishing an EU taxonomy on sustainable economic activities, improving disclosure requirements and creating a new category of financial benchmarks to help investors measure the carbon footprint of their investments. Financial benchmarks have an important impact on investment flows. Many investors rely on them for creating investment products ...

In May 2018, the European Commission presented a package of measures on the financing of sustainable growth. The package includes three proposals aimed at establishing an EU taxonomy on sustainable economic activities, improving disclosure requirements and creating a new category of financial benchmarks to help investors measure the carbon footprint of their investments. Financial benchmarks have an important impact on investment flows. Many investors rely on them for creating investment products, measuring their performance and devising asset allocation strategies. The Commission proposes to create a new category of benchmarks comprising low-carbon and positive-carbon-impact benchmarks, by amending the Benchmark Regulation. As the regulation is directly applicable, amending it would restrict the possibility of divergent measures being taken by the competent authorities at national level. Parliament voted in plenary on 26 March 2019 to approve the compromise text agreed in trilogue negotiations. Following approval of a corrigendum by Parliament in October, the Council adopted the text on 8 November 2019. The final act was signed on 27 November 2019, published in the Official Journal on 9 December and entered into force the following day. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

European Green Deal

06-12-2019

The European Green Deal is a programme outlined in the political guidelines of the incoming President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. It aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, while boosting the competitiveness of European industry and ensuring a just transition for the regions and workers affected. Preserving Europe's natural environment and biodiversity, a 'farm to fork' strategy for sustainable food, and a new circular economy action plan are other key ...

The European Green Deal is a programme outlined in the political guidelines of the incoming President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. It aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, while boosting the competitiveness of European industry and ensuring a just transition for the regions and workers affected. Preserving Europe's natural environment and biodiversity, a 'farm to fork' strategy for sustainable food, and a new circular economy action plan are other key elements. Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans will be in charge of leading and coordinating the work on the European Green Deal. A Commission communication on the matter is expected on 11 December, ahead of the next European Council meeting, starting the following day. The European Parliament has scheduled a debate on the European Green Deal in an extraordinary plenary session on 11 December 2019.

EU industrial policy at the crossroads: Current state of affairs, challenges and way forward

02-12-2019

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry ...

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry while maintaining its global competitiveness. It also prompts a reconsideration of the EU's strategic positioning from a defensive to an offensive policy stance. These developments have triggered a lively debate on the need for a renewed, more assertive, comprehensive and coordinated industrial policy at EU level. This paper reviews the current state of affairs and key challenges facing the EU and provides an analysis of the main policy options going forward.

EU trade policy: Frequently asked questions

15-10-2019

This paper seeks to serve as a key resource for policy-makers who need to understand complex issues related to international trade quickly. It also outlines the key academic debates and issues, and provides references to further resources that could offer useful support to the work of policy-makers in the European Parliament. It seeks to provide immediate answers to the most commonly asked questions related to EU trade policy: from the evolution and scope of EU common commercial policy to the role ...

This paper seeks to serve as a key resource for policy-makers who need to understand complex issues related to international trade quickly. It also outlines the key academic debates and issues, and provides references to further resources that could offer useful support to the work of policy-makers in the European Parliament. It seeks to provide immediate answers to the most commonly asked questions related to EU trade policy: from the evolution and scope of EU common commercial policy to the role of different EU institutions and the economics of trade. It includes explanations of key trade concepts. In addition, the paper covers the procedures for the conclusion of international trade agreements, types of trade relationship, and the specific characteristics of EU legal instruments in the area of trade. Lastly, it addresses the issues of trade and sustainable development, which have grown into a key area of concern for Parliament.

EU support for coal regions

03-10-2019

The EU has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % before 2030, and by at least 80 % by 2050. This will require a transition from relying on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and in particular a reduction in power generation from coal. While EU production and consumption of coal has declined steadily, coal still provides about a quarter of EU power generation. Coal is mined in 12 Member States, and coal-fired power plants operate in 21 Member States. The European coal sector employs ...

The EU has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % before 2030, and by at least 80 % by 2050. This will require a transition from relying on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and in particular a reduction in power generation from coal. While EU production and consumption of coal has declined steadily, coal still provides about a quarter of EU power generation. Coal is mined in 12 Member States, and coal-fired power plants operate in 21 Member States. The European coal sector employs 238 000 people in directly linked activities, such as coal mines and power plants. An estimated 160 000 jobs could disappear by 2030. Further job losses are expected in indirect activities along the value chain, e.g. power generation, equipment supply, services, research and development. Impacts of phasing out coal are also likely to be felt in the iron and steel sectors, mining equipment manufacturing and coal terminals. Transition to a low-carbon economy will therefore require structural changes in coal-producing regions. Proposed solutions include helping workers to retrain and supporting their search for new employment, promoting local economies' diversification, modernising energy and power generation systems, developing the renewable energy sector, and rehabilitating mining land, for instance by converting former mines for renewable energy use or creating industrial heritage sites. The EU provides a variety of funding that can be used to alleviate the socio-economic consequences for coal regions. Energy and climate adaptation programmes, along with cohesion policy and research funding opportunities, offer financial support, while additional technical assistance is also available. The European Commission's Platform for Coal Regions in Transition assists regions to prepare and implement transition activities. As the EU is currently negotiating its post-2020 budgetary framework, the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions call for specific measures and tailored funding sources to offer support to facilitate transition in coal regions. The Commission President-elect has announced the establishment of a Just Transition Fund as part of the European Green Deal, and new legislative proposals can be expected early in her term in office.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Frans Timmermans – Vice-President: European Green Deal

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 Environment and Climate Change Policies: State of play, current and future challenges

18-09-2019

This study reviews the state of play of on-going EU environmental and climate legislation and pinpoints key challenges for the next five years. Challenges arise from the plans released by the president-elect, such as a new European Green Deal, the completion of work started in the previous term (e.g. the Regulation on a framework for sustainable finance and the completion of the multiannual finance framework), by reviews of legislation foreseen for the next term and the need for action where indicators ...

This study reviews the state of play of on-going EU environmental and climate legislation and pinpoints key challenges for the next five years. Challenges arise from the plans released by the president-elect, such as a new European Green Deal, the completion of work started in the previous term (e.g. the Regulation on a framework for sustainable finance and the completion of the multiannual finance framework), by reviews of legislation foreseen for the next term and the need for action where indicators show that current EU environment targets may not be achieved. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament.

Awtur estern

Anke HEROLD, Vanessa COOK, Yifaat BARON, Martin CAMES, Sabine GORES, Jakob GRAICHEN, Peter KASTEN, Georg MEHLHART, Anne SIEMONS, Cristina URRUTIA, Franziska WOLFF

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26-10-2020
European Gender Equality Week - October 26-29, 2020
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26-10-2020
Joint LIBE - FEMM Hearing on Trafficking in human beings
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Hearing on Rebuilding fish stocks in the Mediterranean: next steps
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