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Addressing violations of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights

11-09-2020

The common values of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (DRF) lie at the heart of the European integration process and are central to the values of the European Union (EU). In practice, however, individual and collective (lack of) Member State action can undermine these common values. This situation applied before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, but some of the national measures taken since the outbreak of the pandemic have tested the resilience of these values further. More ...

The common values of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (DRF) lie at the heart of the European integration process and are central to the values of the European Union (EU). In practice, however, individual and collective (lack of) Member State action can undermine these common values. This situation applied before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, but some of the national measures taken since the outbreak of the pandemic have tested the resilience of these values further. More generally, the EU's response to DRF violations has so far not comprehensively tackled the problem. The status quo can result in impunity for criminal activities, as prosecutors are unwilling or unable to take on certain cases, as well as violations of human dignity and fundamental rights. It also denies opportunities for individuals to live out their human potential, and take advantage of economic opportunities, as well as eroding the basis for mutual trust among national administrative and judicial authorities. This Briefing puts forward a set of proposals aimed at enhancing the EU's resilience to DRF violations. It focuses in particular on possibilities for the European Parliament and national parliaments, with their dual mandate from EU citizens, to jointly strengthen their monitoring and investigative capabilities. In particular, they could build on their general resources to evaluate the implementation of (EU) law and further coordinate their tools to ensure the democratic accountability of Member State governments.

The Post-2020 European Disability Strategy

15-07-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, analyses the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and makes recommendations regarding the new European Disability Strategy. The study reflects on the design and implementation of the current Strategy, as well as its achievements and shortcomings. The study makes recommendations in respect of the post-2020 European Disability Strategy. Those ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, analyses the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and makes recommendations regarding the new European Disability Strategy. The study reflects on the design and implementation of the current Strategy, as well as its achievements and shortcomings. The study makes recommendations in respect of the post-2020 European Disability Strategy. Those recommendations are addressed to the European Parliament, the European Commission and other EU institutions, Member States and key stakeholders, and relate to the groundwork needed to prepare the new Strategy, and the design, content and mechanisms for implementation and enforcement.

Externý autor

Lisa WADDINGTON, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University (NLs) Andrea BRODERICK, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University (NLs)

The European Parliament’s right of initiative

09-07-2020

The European Parliament is the only democratically elected body in the EU. Yet, unlike most parliaments, it has no formal right of legislative initiative. Initiating legislation lies almost solely with the EU's executive bodies, the Commission, and – to a limited but increasing extend – the European Council and the Council. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, reveals that Parliament ...

The European Parliament is the only democratically elected body in the EU. Yet, unlike most parliaments, it has no formal right of legislative initiative. Initiating legislation lies almost solely with the EU's executive bodies, the Commission, and – to a limited but increasing extend – the European Council and the Council. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, reveals that Parliament’s „own-initiative-reports” form a widely underestimated and unrecognized tool to informally shape the EU’s policy agenda. The study provides for a comprehensive analysis of non-legislative and legislative own-initiative reports. We argue that Parliament is able to create a cooperative environment in order to bring the Commission in line with its own legislative priorities and sometimes very specific legislative requests. Building on the empirical evidence of Parliament’s practice since 1993, we finally discuss means and ways for pragmatic reform and Treaty revision.

Externý autor

Andreas MAURER, Michael C. WOLF

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.

The impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on artificial intelligence

25-06-2020

This study addresses the relation between the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and artificial intelligence (AI). It considers challenges and opportunities for individuals and society, and the ways in which risks can be countered and opportunities enabled through law and technology. The study discusses the tensions and proximities between AI and data protection principles, such as in particular purpose limitation and data minimisation. It makes a thorough analysis of automated decision-making ...

This study addresses the relation between the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and artificial intelligence (AI). It considers challenges and opportunities for individuals and society, and the ways in which risks can be countered and opportunities enabled through law and technology. The study discusses the tensions and proximities between AI and data protection principles, such as in particular purpose limitation and data minimisation. It makes a thorough analysis of automated decision-making, considering the extent to which it is admissible, the safeguard measures to be adopted, and whether data subjects have a right to individual explanations. The study then considers the extent to which the GDPR provides for a preventive risk-based approach, focused on data protection by design and by default.

Externý autor

DG, EPRS_The study was led by Professor Giovanni Sartor, European University Institute of Florence, at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament. It was co-authored by Professor Sartor and Dr Francesca Lagioia, European University Institute of Florence, working under his supervision.

Europeanising European Public Spheres

15-06-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, provides a brief overview of the academic debates on Europeanisation as well as contestation and politicisation of the EU and European integration. Against this background, it focuses on the European public sphere(s), in particular those based on the media and parliaments. The study further discusses current reform proposals aiming to Europeanise ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, provides a brief overview of the academic debates on Europeanisation as well as contestation and politicisation of the EU and European integration. Against this background, it focuses on the European public sphere(s), in particular those based on the media and parliaments. The study further discusses current reform proposals aiming to Europeanise the European elections and concludes with recommendations on increasing the legitimacy of the European Union.

Externý autor

Katrin AUEL, Guido TIEMANN

Conference on the Future of Europe

11-06-2020

Announced by Ursula von der Leyen and supported by Parliament, the Conference on the Future of Europe was supposed to offer the opportunity for a thorough reflection on the direction of the EU and its institutional set up. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has halted the preparation process, with the result that the three institutions have not yet agreed on the format, composition and structure of the Conference. Parliament is nevertheless fully engaged in resuming this initiative as soon as possible ...

Announced by Ursula von der Leyen and supported by Parliament, the Conference on the Future of Europe was supposed to offer the opportunity for a thorough reflection on the direction of the EU and its institutional set up. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has halted the preparation process, with the result that the three institutions have not yet agreed on the format, composition and structure of the Conference. Parliament is nevertheless fully engaged in resuming this initiative as soon as possible in the post-coronavirus context, and will debate the issue with the Council and Commission during the June plenary session.

Possible Avenues for Further Political Integration in Europe - A Political Compact for a More Democratic and Effective Union?

03-06-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, analyses possible avenues for further political integration in the EU after Brexit. The study maps the multiple crises that the EU has weathered in the past decade and explains how these crises, including the recent Covid-19 pandemic, reveal several substantive and institutional weaknesses in the current EU system of governance. The study considers ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, analyses possible avenues for further political integration in the EU after Brexit. The study maps the multiple crises that the EU has weathered in the past decade and explains how these crises, including the recent Covid-19 pandemic, reveal several substantive and institutional weaknesses in the current EU system of governance. The study considers the potentials of the nascent Conference on the Future of Europe to renew the EU and examines the obstacles and opportunities for EU treaty reforms, considering the option of channelling the Conference’s outcome into a new Political Compact, subject to new, less-than-unanimous ratification rules.

Externý autor

FABBRINI Federico

Unlocking the potential of the EU Treaties: An article-by-article analysis of the scope for action

28-05-2020

The latest Eurobarometer surveys indicate that there is consistent support for more EU action in various policy areas, including preventing climate change, tackling irregular migration, designing a common foreign and security policy and preventing terrorism. Assuming that the Treaty of Lisbon will be the framework for EU action for the foreseeable future, this paper explores possibilities for broadening the scope of EU action in order to respond to these repeated calls from EU citizens. With a view ...

The latest Eurobarometer surveys indicate that there is consistent support for more EU action in various policy areas, including preventing climate change, tackling irregular migration, designing a common foreign and security policy and preventing terrorism. Assuming that the Treaty of Lisbon will be the framework for EU action for the foreseeable future, this paper explores possibilities for broadening the scope of EU action in order to respond to these repeated calls from EU citizens. With a view to reappraising the legal framework of the EU, it aims at identifying those legal bases in the Treaties that remain either under-used (in terms of the purposes they could be used to achieve) or completely unused. It analyses possible ways of delivering on EU policies, including in the development of common rules, providing enhanced executive capacity, better implementation of existing measures, targeted financing and increased efficiency. An overview table sets out possible initiatives, which are then explored in greater detail in 50 fiches, organised according to broad policy clusters reflecting the priorities of the von der Leyen Commission. Possible measures are mentioned in each fiche, along with the legal bases in the current Treaties on which action could potentially be based. It is a revised and expanded version of a paper published in January 2019, ahead of the European elections.

The ECB’s Mandate and Legal Constraints

15-05-2020

This paper considers how the ECB can implement its mandate in the current crisis conditions and the legal constraints that exist on its actions. The current position of the euro area economy means the threat to meeting the ECB’s primary objective of price stability stems from the possibility of a long period of below-target inflation. This means the ECB should consider a wide range of stimulative policies that would help it meet both its primary and secondary objectives. The ECB, however, will be ...

This paper considers how the ECB can implement its mandate in the current crisis conditions and the legal constraints that exist on its actions. The current position of the euro area economy means the threat to meeting the ECB’s primary objective of price stability stems from the possibility of a long period of below-target inflation. This means the ECB should consider a wide range of stimulative policies that would help it meet both its primary and secondary objectives. The ECB, however, will be constrained by the ECJ’s interpretation of the monetary financing clause and its ability to meet its primary objective (and its independence) could be threatened by the recent German constitutional court judgement which is flawed in both its legal and economic analysis. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Externý autor

Karl WHELAN

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