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Veröffentlicht am 23-04-2018

Online disinformation and the EU's response

23-04-2018

The proliferation of disinformation – including false news posing as factual stories – became increasingly visible in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, gaining notoriety as a global challenge during the 2016 United States presidential election campaign. While the EU is stepping up its efforts to tackle online disinformation ahead of the European elections in 2019, the EU's myth-busting team is facing criticism.

The proliferation of disinformation – including false news posing as factual stories – became increasingly visible in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, gaining notoriety as a global challenge during the 2016 United States presidential election campaign. While the EU is stepping up its efforts to tackle online disinformation ahead of the European elections in 2019, the EU's myth-busting team is facing criticism.

Rules for EU institutions' processing of personal data

23-04-2018

In the context of the comprehensive reform of the EU's legal framework for data protection, the Commission tabled a proposal in January 2017 for a 'regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and the free movement of such data' and repealing the existing one (Regulation No 45/2001). The aim is to align it to the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will be fully applicable from 25 ...

In the context of the comprehensive reform of the EU's legal framework for data protection, the Commission tabled a proposal in January 2017 for a 'regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and the free movement of such data' and repealing the existing one (Regulation No 45/2001). The aim is to align it to the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will be fully applicable from 25 May 2018. Interinstitutional trilogues are now under way, with the Council having agreed on its general approach in June 2017 and the European Parliament's LIBE committee adopting its report as well as a mandate to enter into negotiations in October 2017. However, divergences persist on the scope of the regulation, with the negotiations still far from concluded. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Cross-border distribution of investment funds

23-04-2018

The Directive on Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) provides for strong investor protection and creates a label for European retail investment funds. The Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) lays down rules for the authorisation, supervision and oversight of managers of non-UCITS funds, i.e. alternative investment funds (AIFs). Facilitating cross-border investment remains an essential part of the European Commission's action plan on building ...

The Directive on Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) provides for strong investor protection and creates a label for European retail investment funds. The Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) lays down rules for the authorisation, supervision and oversight of managers of non-UCITS funds, i.e. alternative investment funds (AIFs). Facilitating cross-border investment remains an essential part of the European Commission's action plan on building a capital markets union (CMU); the current legislative initiative is limited to facilitating further the cross-border distribution and supervision of UCITS and AIFs, mainly by reducing national regulatory barriers. This briefing presents the rationale for both the existing legislation and the new legislative proposal, as well as the positions of the institutional bodies and stakeholders.

Towards a binding international treaty on business and human rights

23-04-2018

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has provided numerous opportunities, while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, or lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding ...

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has provided numerous opportunities, while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, or lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding corporate interests. This situation has created a pressing need to establish international norms regulating business operations in relation to human rights. So far, the preferred approach has been 'soft', consisting of the adoption of voluntary guidelines for businesses. Several sets of such norms exist at international level, the most notable being the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Nevertheless, while such voluntary commitments are clearly useful, they cannot entirely stop gross human rights violations (such as child labour, labour rights violations and land grabbing) committed by transnational corporations, their subsidiaries or suppliers. To address the shortcomings of the soft approach, an intergovernmental working group was established within the UN framework in June 2014, with the task of drafting a binding treaty on human rights and business. After being reluctant at the outset, the EU has become involved in the negotiations, but has insisted that the future treaty's scope should include all businesses, not only transnational ones. The EU's position on this issue has been disregarded by the UN intergovernmental working group until now, which raises some questions about the fairness of the process. The European Parliament is a staunch supporter of this initiative and has encouraged the EU to take a positive and constructive approach. This is an updated edition of a briefing published in July 2017: PE 608.636.

How could the Stability and Growth Pact be simplified?

23-04-2018

Past reforms of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) have improved its economic rationale, but this progress has come at the expense of simplicity, transparency and, possibly, enforceability. This study surveys and evaluates reform models that could reduce complexity without compromising the SGP’s indispensable flexibility. From a holistic perspective, the greatest potential for simplification will result from a shift of discretionary power to an independent fiscal institution. Independence is a substitute ...

Past reforms of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) have improved its economic rationale, but this progress has come at the expense of simplicity, transparency and, possibly, enforceability. This study surveys and evaluates reform models that could reduce complexity without compromising the SGP’s indispensable flexibility. From a holistic perspective, the greatest potential for simplification will result from a shift of discretionary power to an independent fiscal institution. Independence is a substitute for complexity. With a narrower focus on the potential streamlining of the SGP and a reduction of excess complexity, first, the preventive and corrective arms could be integrated into one procedure. Second, this integrated procedure should be centred on a net expenditure rule that is combined with a debt feedback mechanism and a memory for expenditure overruns. Third, further fiscal indicators that are currently treated as parallel targets (headline deficit rule and structural balance) could be downgraded to non-binding reference values. And fourth, the planned transposition of the Fiscal Compact into European law should follow SGP reforms in order to promote consistency between European and national fiscal rules.

Externe Autor

Friedrich Heinemann

How could the SGP be simplified?

23-04-2018

The complexity of the SGP, which may have contributed to its limited effectiveness, reflects largely the conflict between the need to make the original SGP rules more stringent and the desire to allow flexibility with respect to various country circumstances. Now that the effects of the largest economic shock since the 1930s are fading away, a major simplification of the system could be achieved by removing some margins of flexibility, while possibly relaxing some of the SGP long-term parameters. ...

The complexity of the SGP, which may have contributed to its limited effectiveness, reflects largely the conflict between the need to make the original SGP rules more stringent and the desire to allow flexibility with respect to various country circumstances. Now that the effects of the largest economic shock since the 1930s are fading away, a major simplification of the system could be achieved by removing some margins of flexibility, while possibly relaxing some of the SGP long-term parameters. The coexistence of the MTO rule and the expenditure benchmark could also be reconsidered. A more radical solution would involve shifting to a single rule in which an “operational target” would respond to deviations of public debt from its long-term objective.

Externe Autor

Carlo Cotterelli

How could the Stability and Growth Pact be simplified?

23-04-2018

An assessment of the present SGP fiscal rules reveals a significant deterioration in simplicity, undermining their effectiveness. In fact, in both design and process, they have become the most complex worldwide. Three options for future reform are offered to correct this deficiency. Under the first, the structural balance and the debt convergence targets are replaced with a debt-stabilizing or -reducing primary surplus target, while retaining the expenditure benchmark. The second consolidates all ...

An assessment of the present SGP fiscal rules reveals a significant deterioration in simplicity, undermining their effectiveness. In fact, in both design and process, they have become the most complex worldwide. Three options for future reform are offered to correct this deficiency. Under the first, the structural balance and the debt convergence targets are replaced with a debt-stabilizing or -reducing primary surplus target, while retaining the expenditure benchmark. The second consolidates all current rules into a single operational debt rule by setting a limit on the discretionary budget deficit, derived from the debt reduction target. The third option consists of a market-based approach, inspired by the oldest and most successful subnational fiscal frameworks.

Externe Autor

George Kopits

Veröffentlicht am 20-04-2018

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, April 2018

20-04-2018

The April plenary session's highlight was the debate on the future of Europe with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, detailing his ambitions for a reinvigorated Europe, ready to face existing and emerging challenges. Members also heard from the European Council and Commission Presidents on the outcome of the March European Council meeting. High Representative Federica Mogherini made statements on the UN global compacts for migration and refugees, Syria, Russia, the situation in ...

The April plenary session's highlight was the debate on the future of Europe with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, detailing his ambitions for a reinvigorated Europe, ready to face existing and emerging challenges. Members also heard from the European Council and Commission Presidents on the outcome of the March European Council meeting. High Representative Federica Mogherini made statements on the UN global compacts for migration and refugees, Syria, Russia, the situation in the Korean peninsula and of Greek soldiers arrested in Turkey. Parliament adopted, inter alia, legislative resolutions on greenhouse gas emissions, the circular economy, European political parties and foundations, anti-money-laundering, market surveillance of motor vehicles, and organic production and labelling. Members granted discharge for the execution of the 2016 budget to the European Commission and all EU institutions and agencies, except the Council/European Council and European Asylum Support Office.

The Future of Europe [What Think Tanks are thinking]

20-04-2018

The tone of the debate on the Future of Europe and possible institutional reforms of the European Union has shifted from gloomy to more optimistic, thanks to a developing economic recovery, the easing of the migration crisis, the failure of anti-EU forces to make decisive gains in some recent elections, and the general progress of the Brexit talks. Still, many analysts and politicians warn against complacency, as anti-establishment political parties continue to gain traction with some voters, as ...

The tone of the debate on the Future of Europe and possible institutional reforms of the European Union has shifted from gloomy to more optimistic, thanks to a developing economic recovery, the easing of the migration crisis, the failure of anti-EU forces to make decisive gains in some recent elections, and the general progress of the Brexit talks. Still, many analysts and politicians warn against complacency, as anti-establishment political parties continue to gain traction with some voters, as concerns grow over the rule of law in some EU countries, and as the policies of, and relations between, the United States and Russia have become less predictable. There is also no agreement on how to overhaul the euro area to minimise the risk of a repeat of the 2008 crisis and to strengthen economic growth. This debate on the Future of Europe is set to intensify ahead of the 2019 European elections, the installation of the new Presidents of the European Commission and European Council, and the end of the EU’s current long-term budget in 2021. This note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the state of the EU and possible reforms. Brexit-related publications can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking.’ Earlier papers on the general state of the EU are available in another edition in this series, published in September 2017. More reports on euro zone reforms are also gathered in another in the series, from December 2017.

Veröffentlicht am 19-04-2018

Socioeconomic inequality in Russia

19-04-2018

Russia has gone from Soviet-era egalitarianism to extremes of wealth and poverty. Economic growth since 2000 has slightly reduced the gap between rich and poor, but inequality is still higher than in most other developed countries. The income gap is exacerbated by such factors as corruption and low taxes for the rich, but it is also mitigated by a relatively inclusive education system.

Russia has gone from Soviet-era egalitarianism to extremes of wealth and poverty. Economic growth since 2000 has slightly reduced the gap between rich and poor, but inequality is still higher than in most other developed countries. The income gap is exacerbated by such factors as corruption and low taxes for the rich, but it is also mitigated by a relatively inclusive education system.

Anstehende Veranstaltungen

24-04-2018
Preventing and Countering Radicalisation
Anhörung -
TERR
24-04-2018
Outlook for the US mid-term elections: Where next for American politics?
Andere Veranstaltung -
EPRS
24-04-2018
CAP post-2020 - the future of food and farming: interparliamentary committee meeting
Andere Veranstaltung -
AGRI

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