On 24 January 2013 the Internal Market Committee adopted its position on draft rules setting out minimum EU requirements for the award by public authorities of "concession" contracts to procure works or services from private suppliers. These contracts are typically high-value, complex and long-term. These Q&A deal with certain aspects of the committee text, on which informal negotiations are now under way with the Council headed by the Irish Presidency and the European Commission.
The growing globalisation of data flows, via social networks, cloud computing, search engines, location-based services, etc, arguably increases the risk that people could lose control of their own data. MEPs are debating a major overhaul of current EU data protection rules which aims to put people in control of their personal data and to build trust both in social media and in online shopping and communication in general.
The EU Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR) and Directive (CRD) aim to stabilise and strengthen the banking system by making banks set aside more and higher quality capital as a cushion against crises. The new rules should also foster a convergence of supervisory practices across the EU. Banks that are better able to withstand future crises should be more capable of financing investment and growth.
Parliament set out its position on EU farm policy reform in texts voted on Wednesday, after more than a year's debates with farmers, cooperatives, EU agriculture ministers, MPs, experts and academics. This position will pave the way for negotiations with EU member states, which are expected to start in late March/early April.
The "two pack" is the latest piece of the EU's economic governance revamp. It joins other instruments such as the European Semester, the "six pack" and the Fiscal Compact in ensuring that the EU's economic and monetary union is less fragmented and that its component countries run fiscally sound policies.
The EU's Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) sets out spending ceilings for each policy category or "heading". The MFF, also known as the "Financial Perspectives"), helps to ensure that EU spending takes place in an orderly fashion and remains within the limits of the EU's "own resources" income. It also limits overall spending to a percentage of EU Gross National Income (GNI).
After over 30 years of trying, Parliament and the Council have agreed on how to create an EU-wide patent regime to protect inventions better, cut costs and boost competitiveness. This Q&A paper details how the new regime will work, and how it will improve on the current one. It also shows how Parliament helped to shape the regime and tailor it to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.
With the creation of the Euro, participating countries were meant to treat their economic policies as a common concern. The idea was that tighter economic integration, with a common currency, would lead to similar economic policies across the different Eurozone members. This did not happen, as we now know.
More than a year after the Commission unveiled its proposals for new legislation, and following passionate debates, public hearings and expert workshops, Parliament's agriculture committee is preparing to vote on four core regulations that should pave the way for a fairer, greener, more efficient and more competitive EU farm policy.
The single market's 20th anniversary celebration (15-20 October), will enable citizens, businesses and politicians to debate the challenges it faces in the 21st century. This press kit looks at five examples of how citizens and businesses have gained from recent single market legislation, draft laws now being worked on by the Internal Market Committee and MEPs' predictions for the future.