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EU budget and recovery fund: Is it a done deal? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

29-07-2020

After nearly five days of tough negotiations, the European Council agreed on the EU’s next seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), worth more than one trillion euros from 2021 to 2027, and crucially, on an additional 750-billion euro fund to help countries recover from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Many politicians and analysts have hailed the agreement on the recovery fund in particular as an ‘historic moment’. For the first time, some EU debt will ...

After nearly five days of tough negotiations, the European Council agreed on the EU’s next seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), worth more than one trillion euros from 2021 to 2027, and crucially, on an additional 750-billion euro fund to help countries recover from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Many politicians and analysts have hailed the agreement on the recovery fund in particular as an ‘historic moment’. For the first time, some EU debt will be mutualised and the EU will tap financial markets on a significant scale to secure funds, which will be disbursed in the form of grants and loans. The European Parliament - which must approve these spending plans - welcomed the fund but criticised the lack of parliamentary scrutiny in its implementation as well as some of the cuts leaders made in spending on innovation and the climate as compared to the European Commission’s MFF proposals and the Parliament’s own demands, and regretted the weakened link between budget spending and the rule of law. This note offers links to first reactions from international think tanks on the budget deal. Earlier publications on financing the EU can be found in a previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 8 June 2020.

Hagia Sophia: Turkey's secularism under threat

24-07-2020

Turkey's decision to convert Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque, announced on 10 July 2020, created a wave of protest from international and EU authorities, who fear for religious freedom and the republican secular tradition in Turkey. The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union (EU) condemned this decision at its meeting of 13 July 2020, alongside international organisations including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), raising concerns that the ...

Turkey's decision to convert Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque, announced on 10 July 2020, created a wave of protest from international and EU authorities, who fear for religious freedom and the republican secular tradition in Turkey. The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union (EU) condemned this decision at its meeting of 13 July 2020, alongside international organisations including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), raising concerns that the decision would 'fuel mistrust, promote renewed divisions between religious communities and undermine efforts at dialogue and cooperation'. While Turkey is still an EU candidate country, several recent initiatives, ranging from military interventions in Syria and military assistance to Libya in breach of the arms embargo, to illegal gas drilling and repeated threats to EU Member States in the eastern Mediterranean, undermine the country's path towards EU membership and open the door to possible sanctions.

Future financing of the Union: MFF, Own Resources and Next Generation EU

22-07-2020

On 21 July, EU Heads of State or Government reached a political agreement on the future design of EU finances. The next step involves negotiations between Parliament, whose consent is required for the adoption of the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF), and Council. In an extraordinary part-session two days later, Parliament is expected to vote on a motion for a resolution that confirms Parliament’s readiness to enter immediately into negotiations to improve the deal and sets out conditions ...

On 21 July, EU Heads of State or Government reached a political agreement on the future design of EU finances. The next step involves negotiations between Parliament, whose consent is required for the adoption of the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF), and Council. In an extraordinary part-session two days later, Parliament is expected to vote on a motion for a resolution that confirms Parliament’s readiness to enter immediately into negotiations to improve the deal and sets out conditions for its consent to the MFF.

Renewal of the Leipzig Charter

17-07-2020

Adopted during the 2007 German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities helped establish the concept of integrated urban development at EU level and has been influential in the development of subsequent EU initiatives such as the Urban Agenda. It is currently being updated to take account of this new urban framework and the emerging challenges facing cities, with the new Leipzig Charter due to be adopted at the end of the current German Presidency, in ...

Adopted during the 2007 German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities helped establish the concept of integrated urban development at EU level and has been influential in the development of subsequent EU initiatives such as the Urban Agenda. It is currently being updated to take account of this new urban framework and the emerging challenges facing cities, with the new Leipzig Charter due to be adopted at the end of the current German Presidency, in December 2020.

Scenarios for geo-politics after coronavirus: A recent Atlantic Council analysis

16-07-2020

The Atlantic Council report, 'What World Post-Covid-19? Three Scenarios', has two main takeaways: first, Chinese-US rivalry could get worse and go global, destabilising an increasingly divided EU and endangering the United States' alliances system in Asia. Second, there is no way around the US, Europe and China cooperating to develop a positive, global 'new normal'.

The Atlantic Council report, 'What World Post-Covid-19? Three Scenarios', has two main takeaways: first, Chinese-US rivalry could get worse and go global, destabilising an increasingly divided EU and endangering the United States' alliances system in Asia. Second, there is no way around the US, Europe and China cooperating to develop a positive, global 'new normal'.

Will distributed energy resources (DERs) change how we get our energy?

16-07-2020

Decentralised energy resources (DERs) may signal a paradigm shift for electricity production. By 2050, a majority of households in the EU could potentially be suppliers as well as consumers of energy. Energy communities, peer-to-peer trading and interoperable smart grids are emerging trends. This can fit well with the European Green Deal.

Decentralised energy resources (DERs) may signal a paradigm shift for electricity production. By 2050, a majority of households in the EU could potentially be suppliers as well as consumers of energy. Energy communities, peer-to-peer trading and interoperable smart grids are emerging trends. This can fit well with the European Green Deal.

Decoupling economic growth from environmental harm

16-07-2020

Decoupling economic growth from the depletion of planetary resources is a major challenge. An effective strategy will span several domains. Trends to watch include the development of negative emissions technologies, advances in the storage of renewable energy, the circular economy, and reforestation - among many others.

Decoupling economic growth from the depletion of planetary resources is a major challenge. An effective strategy will span several domains. Trends to watch include the development of negative emissions technologies, advances in the storage of renewable energy, the circular economy, and reforestation - among many others.

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.

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.

Amending Budget No 5/2020: Continuation of support to refugees in response to the Syria crisis

07-07-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment ...

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment appropriations and €68 million in payment appropriations is proposed as urgent humanitarian support to refugees in Turkey under the Contingency Margin. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 5/2020 and the proposal to mobilise the Contingency Margin during its July plenary session.

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