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Posted on 28-06-2016

EU Geographical Indications: Protection for non-agricultural products

28-06-2016

At its plenary session on 6 October 2015, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on the possible extension of protection of geographical indications (GIs) to non-agricultural products. The report adopted by the EP stressed the opportunity and need to create a uniform European framework of protection for GIs for non-food products.

At its plenary session on 6 October 2015, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on the possible extension of protection of geographical indications (GIs) to non-agricultural products. The report adopted by the EP stressed the opportunity and need to create a uniform European framework of protection for GIs for non-food products.

UK withdrawal from the EU – Next steps

28-06-2016

The referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June on the question of whether to remain in, or leave, the European Union resulted in 51.9% of those voting (on a 71.8% turn-out) supporting withdrawal from the Union. Although, formally speaking, the referendum was consultative, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his government had indicated clearly in advance that the outcome would be considered binding. In announcing his resignation, Cameron said that the UK would activate the procedure ...

The referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June on the question of whether to remain in, or leave, the European Union resulted in 51.9% of those voting (on a 71.8% turn-out) supporting withdrawal from the Union. Although, formally speaking, the referendum was consultative, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his government had indicated clearly in advance that the outcome would be considered binding. In announcing his resignation, Cameron said that the UK would activate the procedure set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) enabling a Member State to withdraw, but that this process would wait until his successor had been chosen (by October). In a resolution adopted at the conclusion of a special plenary session on 28 June, MEPs called on the UK government to instigate ‘a swift and coherent implementation of the withdrawal procedure’, to prevent ‘damaging uncertainty for everyone and to protect the Union’s integrity’. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Mongolia ahead of the 2016 legislative elections

28-06-2016

The elections to Mongolia's unicameral State Great Khural scheduled for 29 June 2016 will be held amidst a serious deterioration of the country's macroeconomic indicators caused by domestic and external factors. There is widespread voter scepticism as regards the ability of the national political elites to curb rising unemployment and poverty which affects a third of the population, as well as to eradicate pervasive corruption. The new election arrangements suggest a two-horse race between the ruling ...

The elections to Mongolia's unicameral State Great Khural scheduled for 29 June 2016 will be held amidst a serious deterioration of the country's macroeconomic indicators caused by domestic and external factors. There is widespread voter scepticism as regards the ability of the national political elites to curb rising unemployment and poverty which affects a third of the population, as well as to eradicate pervasive corruption. The new election arrangements suggest a two-horse race between the ruling centre-right Democratic Party and the opposition centre-left Mongolian People's Party. To support Mongolia’s fragile democracy, sandwiched between authoritarian China and Russia, the European Parliament is sending a delegation to observe the elections.

Developments in the area of cyber-physical systems and their implications for the EU legislative agenda

28-06-2016

Cyber-physical systems – machines or mechanisms controlled by increasingly intelligent, computer-based algorithms – are increasingly becoming part of our daily lives. There is much talk currently about the prospect of self-driving cars that might soon cruise on our streets, but even many of our current car models are already equipped with a multitude of increasingly autonomous devices that can sense and adapt to the environment, detect possible problems and make decisions for us, including when to ...

Cyber-physical systems – machines or mechanisms controlled by increasingly intelligent, computer-based algorithms – are increasingly becoming part of our daily lives. There is much talk currently about the prospect of self-driving cars that might soon cruise on our streets, but even many of our current car models are already equipped with a multitude of increasingly autonomous devices that can sense and adapt to the environment, detect possible problems and make decisions for us, including when to turn on the lights, where to take a turn, when to brake or when to take a rest. Other examples include washing machines that automatically select the best washing cycle for us, machines that help us check into a hotel or hospital, or robots that mow our lawn. Not only are these machines becoming increasingly intelligent, autonomous and pervasive in the way they interact with us, they are also starting to interact with each other. As the world we live in rapidly becomes crowded with a multitude of different cyber-physical systems, a wide range of legal issues will need to be re-examined and adapted to new realities.Technological changes have nowadays accelerated to such a speed that increasingly law-making has difficulty catching up. STOA therefore recently conducted a foresight study in order to draw up possible scenarios to illustrate where developments in the area of cyber-physical systems might take us. Using these scenarios it was then possible to identify the areas of jurisdiction that should be addressed pro-actively, in order to reap the greatest possible benefits from the technical developments while avoiding, as far as possible, the negative consequences.This briefing presents the conclusions for seven areas of policy  that are of relevance to the work of the European Parliament, listing the issues that might have to be dealt with, the EP committees concerned, and the legislative acts that might need to be revisited. It is hoped that the briefing will give Members of the European Parliament a better overview of the various questions they will likely be confronted with in the coming years, allowing the EP to plan actions pro-actively rather than later having to react to some unforeseen event, accident or disaster.The focus is on the identification of issues that will likely have to be dealt with. The briefing does not attempt to pre-judge what will eventually be the most appropriate instrument in each case. That might be new EU legislation, modification of existing legislation, legislation at national level or international conventions, or soft law approaches such as guidelines, codes of conduct, or standards potentially to be drawn up by professional associations or technical standardisation organisations such as the International Organization for Standardization ISO or European organisations such as CEN and CENELEC.The final chapter discusses some of the ethical aspects of cyber-physical systems.  

Why Has ECB’s Very Accommodative Monetary Policy Not Yet Triggered a Rebound of Investment?

15-06-2016

The European Central Bank has adopted a series of unconventional monetary policy measures to combat the financial crisis and ward off the risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation. The policy package has led to a tangible improvement in borrowing conditions for both households and firms. Sovereign bond rates have reached record low levels even at relative long maturities in several euro-area countries. In theory lower financing costs should support consumption and investment via the increase ...

The European Central Bank has adopted a series of unconventional monetary policy measures to combat the financial crisis and ward off the risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation. The policy package has led to a tangible improvement in borrowing conditions for both households and firms. Sovereign bond rates have reached record low levels even at relative long maturities in several euro-area countries. In theory lower financing costs should support consumption and investment via the increase in bank lending and bond or stock issuance. In practice the main beneficiaries of ECB very accommodative monetary policy seem to be for governments via lower interest payments, while the effects on private spending and, in particular, capital formation have been limited, so far.

Effectiveness of the ECB Programme of Asset Purchase: Where Do We Stand?

15-06-2016

The European Central Bank Expanded Asset Purchase Programme adds the purchase programme for public sector securities to the existing private sector asset purchase programmes to address the risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation. It consists of a third covered bond purchase programme , asset-backed securities purchase programme (ABSPP) and public sector purchase programme.

The European Central Bank Expanded Asset Purchase Programme adds the purchase programme for public sector securities to the existing private sector asset purchase programmes to address the risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation. It consists of a third covered bond purchase programme , asset-backed securities purchase programme (ABSPP) and public sector purchase programme.

Ethical Aspects of Cyber-Physical Systems

28-06-2016

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are intelligent robotics systems, linked with the Internet of Things, or technical systems of networked computers, robots and artificial intelligence that interact with the physical world.The project 'Ethical aspects of CPS' aims to provide insights into the potential ethical concerns and related unintended impacts of the possible evolution of CPS technology by 2050. The overarching purpose is to support the European Parliament, the parliamentary bodies, and the individual ...

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are intelligent robotics systems, linked with the Internet of Things, or technical systems of networked computers, robots and artificial intelligence that interact with the physical world.The project 'Ethical aspects of CPS' aims to provide insights into the potential ethical concerns and related unintended impacts of the possible evolution of CPS technology by 2050. The overarching purpose is to support the European Parliament, the parliamentary bodies, and the individual Members in their anticipation of possible future concerns regarding developments in CPS, robotics and artificial intelligence.The Scientific Foresight study was conducted in three phases:1. A 'technical horizon scan', in the form of briefing papers describing the technical trends and their possible societal, ethical, economic, environmental, political/legal and demographic impacts, and this in seven application domains. 2. The 'soft impact and scenario phase', which analysed soft impacts of CPS, on the basis of the technical horizon scan, for pointing out possible future public concerns via an envisioning exercise and using exploratory scenarios.3. The 'legal backcasting' phase, which resulted in a briefing for the European Parliament identifying the legal instruments that may need to be modified or reviewed, including — where appropriate — areas identified for anticipatory parliamentary work, in accordance with the conclusions reached within the project.The outcome of the study is a policy briefing for MEPs describing legal instruments to anticipate impacts of future developments in the area of cyber-physical systems, such as intelligent robotics systems, linked with the Internet of Things. It is important to note that not all impacts of CPS are easily translated into legislation, as it is often contested whether they are in effect harmful, who is to be held accountable, and to what extent these impacts constitute a public rather than a private concern.

How to End Energy Poverty? Scrutiny of Current EU and Member States Instruments

26-10-2015

Policymaking to alleviate energy poverty needs to find a balance between short-term remedies and the resolution of long-term drivers of energy poverty. EU policy might need to work towards a) finding a definition of energy poverty; b) supporting national policies financially through EU coordination; and c) setting minimum standards for energy efficiency of buildings and devices. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE ...

Policymaking to alleviate energy poverty needs to find a balance between short-term remedies and the resolution of long-term drivers of energy poverty. EU policy might need to work towards a) finding a definition of energy poverty; b) supporting national policies financially through EU coordination; and c) setting minimum standards for energy efficiency of buildings and devices. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

External author

Schumacher, Katja (Öko-Institut e.V.), Cludius, Johanna (Öko-Institut e.V.), Förster, Hannah (Öko-Institut e.V.), Greiner, Benjamin (Öko-Institut e.V.), Hünecke, Katja (Öko-Institut e.V.), Kenkmann, Tanja (Öko-Institut e.V.) and van Nuffel, Luc (Trinomics)

The Reform of the Dublin III Regulation

28-06-2016

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. It examines the performance of Dublin and of relocation schemes, and assesses the Commission’s “Dublin IV” Proposal in this light. It argues that by retaining the Dublin philosophy and betting on more coercion, Dublin IV is unlikely to achieve its objectives while raising human rights concerns. It advocates re-centring EU responsibility allocation ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. It examines the performance of Dublin and of relocation schemes, and assesses the Commission’s “Dublin IV” Proposal in this light. It argues that by retaining the Dublin philosophy and betting on more coercion, Dublin IV is unlikely to achieve its objectives while raising human rights concerns. It advocates re-centring EU responsibility allocation schemes on one key objective – quick access to asylum procedures. This requires taking protection seekers’ preferences seriously and de-bureaucratising the process. Such a reform would need to be accompanied by (a) stepping up the enforcement of refugee rights across the EU, (b) moving solidarity schemes from a logic of capacity-building to one of compensation, and (c) granting protected persons real mobility rights.

External author

Francesco Maiani (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

Longer Lifetime for Products: Benefits for Consumers and Companies

28-06-2016

The report provides an evaluation of the potential impact of a longer lifetime for products in Europe on the economy, on society and on the environment. It provides case studies of existing businesses, the (non-)legal context for an initiative on longer product lifetimes, and a wide range of policy options to optimize benefits to society A minimal increase of 1% of value added by economic activities related to a longer lifetime for products would have an aggregated effect of 7.9 billion EUR per year ...

The report provides an evaluation of the potential impact of a longer lifetime for products in Europe on the economy, on society and on the environment. It provides case studies of existing businesses, the (non-)legal context for an initiative on longer product lifetimes, and a wide range of policy options to optimize benefits to society A minimal increase of 1% of value added by economic activities related to a longer lifetime for products would have an aggregated effect of 7.9 billion EUR per year across the European economy. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

External author

Carlos Montalvo (TNO), David Peck (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands) and Elmer Rietveld (TNO)

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