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Posted on 22-07-2016

Brexit and the future of the European Union [What Think Tanks are thinking]

22-07-2016

The United Kingdom's vote on 23 June to leave the European Union has stirred lively debate on the implications of Brexit for the institutions, policies and global role of the European Union. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports by major international think tanks on the future of the EU without Britain. More studies on issues raised by the vote can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' from July 7, 2016.

The United Kingdom's vote on 23 June to leave the European Union has stirred lively debate on the implications of Brexit for the institutions, policies and global role of the European Union. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports by major international think tanks on the future of the EU without Britain. More studies on issues raised by the vote can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' from July 7, 2016.

Posted on 19-07-2016

The Istanbul Convention: A tool to tackle violence against women and girls

19-07-2016

A powerful international tool, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) entered into force in August 2014, having been opened for signature in May 2011. It is the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence and punish perpetrators. This is an updated edition of an EPRS note published in November 2015. Please click here for ...

A powerful international tool, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) entered into force in August 2014, having been opened for signature in May 2011. It is the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence and punish perpetrators. This is an updated edition of an EPRS note published in November 2015. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Snapshot of the EU regions with a view to selected Europe 2020 targets

19-07-2016

The NUTS classification (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) is a system to divide the territory of Member States (MS) into regions for the purpose of collection and harmonisation of statistics and for socio-economic analysis. There are three NUTS NUTS: 1, 2 and 3 respectively, moving from smaller to larger territorial units.NUTS 2 divides EU territory into 276 regions with minimum and maximum population thresholds of 800 000 and 3 000 000. It is used for allocating European structural ...

The NUTS classification (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) is a system to divide the territory of Member States (MS) into regions for the purpose of collection and harmonisation of statistics and for socio-economic analysis. There are three NUTS NUTS: 1, 2 and 3 respectively, moving from smaller to larger territorial units.NUTS 2 divides EU territory into 276 regions with minimum and maximum population thresholds of 800 000 and 3 000 000. It is used for allocating European structural and investment funds to EU regions.This paper provides statistics for the 276 NUTS 2 regions, firstly looking at GDP and unemployment for the years 2004 and 2014. Second, it shows the employment situation of the younger generation in 2014. It then considers employment, poverty and education in the light of selected Europe 2020 targets, and internet usage in view of the EU’s digital agenda. Finally it shows the allocation of structural and investment funds for the period 2014-2020. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Anti-tax-avoidance directive

19-07-2016

The proposal for a directive on 'Rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market' was one of two legislative proposals of the 28 January 2016 European Commission 'anti-tax-avoidance package'. Linked with the OECD/G20 Base erosion and profit shifting action plan (BEPS), it targets schemes where corporate taxpayers operating businesses in several countries take advantage of disparities and loopholes to reduce their tax bills. The objective is to realign ...

The proposal for a directive on 'Rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market' was one of two legislative proposals of the 28 January 2016 European Commission 'anti-tax-avoidance package'. Linked with the OECD/G20 Base erosion and profit shifting action plan (BEPS), it targets schemes where corporate taxpayers operating businesses in several countries take advantage of disparities and loopholes to reduce their tax bills. The objective is to realign corporate taxation with the relevant business substance (income) of the corporate taxpayer, fighting against aggressive corporate tax avoidance. The proposal for a directive sets legally binding minimum standards for six practices. Three of these are included in the BEPS action plan (interest limitation rules, controlled foreign company rules, and rules on hybrid mismatches). The other three (a general anti-abuse rule, exit taxation rules and a switchover clause) came out of discussions on the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) proposal. As a tax measure, Parliament is only consulted, with the proposal adopted by the Council. As finally adopted, the directive covers all these six aspects with the exception of the switchover clause and changes to the rules on the controlled foreign companies (CFC) rules. This briefing updates a previous edition, of 3 June 2016: PE 583.804. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Posted on 18-07-2016

Posting of Workers Directive – Current Situation and Challenges

18-07-2016

This note, prepared by Policy Department A for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, summarises the background on the discussion of the posting of workers phenomenon, and introduces the focus and the key findings of the recent study "Posting of Workers Directive – Current Situation and Challenges". It then lists the key recommendations of the study to give the interested audience a quick overview on the main findings of the study.

This note, prepared by Policy Department A for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, summarises the background on the discussion of the posting of workers phenomenon, and introduces the focus and the key findings of the recent study "Posting of Workers Directive – Current Situation and Challenges". It then lists the key recommendations of the study to give the interested audience a quick overview on the main findings of the study.

New rules on CE marked fertilising products

18-07-2016

Overall, the IA has managed to present well the problem and policy options of a complex policy area. The explanation of the need to revise the existing regulation is clear, as are the policy choices. Nevertheless, it is not very clear from the content and structure of both parts of the IA IA report just how firmly this proposal is integrated into the Circular Economy agenda which it is meant to help implement. Furthermore, the IA does not always provide clear information regarding the effects on ...

Overall, the IA has managed to present well the problem and policy options of a complex policy area. The explanation of the need to revise the existing regulation is clear, as are the policy choices. Nevertheless, it is not very clear from the content and structure of both parts of the IA IA report just how firmly this proposal is integrated into the Circular Economy agenda which it is meant to help implement. Furthermore, the IA does not always provide clear information regarding the effects on SMEs, and the low numbers of  responses in the SMEs test raises the question of the extent to which it is representative. Finally, both parts of the IA report refrain from giving more concrete timelines other than saying repeatedly ‘in the long run’. The presentation therefore suffers from a somewhat vague timeframe throughout the analysis. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Protection of workers from exposure to carcinogens or mutagens

18-07-2016

Overall, the Commission appears to have provided sound reasoning and justification for the initiative. The methodology used to compare the scope of impacts is well-developed, but the proposed range of options limits the scope of the analysis. As Option 3 is barely considered, and Option 4 does not seem to be consistent with the objectives, the added value of these options is not evident. Moreover, both the IA and the Explanatory Memorandum of the proposal are not explicit about the preferred option ...

Overall, the Commission appears to have provided sound reasoning and justification for the initiative. The methodology used to compare the scope of impacts is well-developed, but the proposed range of options limits the scope of the analysis. As Option 3 is barely considered, and Option 4 does not seem to be consistent with the objectives, the added value of these options is not evident. Moreover, both the IA and the Explanatory Memorandum of the proposal are not explicit about the preferred option. More information on the consultation with SCOEL and ACSH would have been welcomed in order to understand the way in which the OELs were set. Finally, it is not entirely clear why the Commission has come forward with this proposal before the ex-post evaluation of the OSH Framework undertaken within the remit of REFIT has been completed. Indeed, including the results of the ex-post evaluation in the IA might have strengthened the Commission’s evidence base as well as further clarified the monitoring and evaluation arrangements and the interaction between the various pieces of legislation under the OSH Framework. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format  

Digital Single Market: Cross-border parcel delivery services

18-07-2016

The Commission has provided sound reasoning and justification for the initiative, including broad and up-to-date use of research and evidence. However, the overall presentation suffers from an unclear definition of the problem and the drivers. The analysis of impacts is extremely limited and very general, a point which was also made in the RSB’s opinion. This limited assessment of impacts remains one of the most problematic features of the IA. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format ...

The Commission has provided sound reasoning and justification for the initiative, including broad and up-to-date use of research and evidence. However, the overall presentation suffers from an unclear definition of the problem and the drivers. The analysis of impacts is extremely limited and very general, a point which was also made in the RSB’s opinion. This limited assessment of impacts remains one of the most problematic features of the IA. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

The Implementation of Bail-In in Recent Resolution and State Aid Cases

07-07-2016

Since 1 January 2016 it is mandatory under the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) to bail-in shareholders and creditors for a minimum amount of 8% of total liabilities before any funds from the Single Resolution Fund may be injected into a bank under resolution. A number of national competent authorities therefore triggered the resolution of weak banks before the deadline of 31 December 2015. However, since 2013 EU State aid rules have imposed (the "2013 Banking Communication") that subordinated ...

Since 1 January 2016 it is mandatory under the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) to bail-in shareholders and creditors for a minimum amount of 8% of total liabilities before any funds from the Single Resolution Fund may be injected into a bank under resolution. A number of national competent authorities therefore triggered the resolution of weak banks before the deadline of 31 December 2015. However, since 2013 EU State aid rules have imposed (the "2013 Banking Communication") that subordinated creditors contribute to the maximum extent (bail-in) to the restructuring of State-aided institutions. All the resolution cases presented below and approved by the European Commission have complied with the State-aid requirement to bail-in subordinated creditors.

Legal aid: Impact assessment of substantial amendments

18-07-2016

This study was requested by the European Parliament's Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) as part of the Parliament's general commitment to improving the quality of EU legislation, and in particular its undertaking to carry out impact assessments of its own substantial amendments when it considers it appropriate and necessary for the legislative process. The aim of this ex-ante impact assessment is to evaluate seven substantial amendments to the Commission’s proposal for ...

This study was requested by the European Parliament's Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) as part of the Parliament's general commitment to improving the quality of EU legislation, and in particular its undertaking to carry out impact assessments of its own substantial amendments when it considers it appropriate and necessary for the legislative process. The aim of this ex-ante impact assessment is to evaluate seven substantial amendments to the Commission’s proposal for a directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European Arrest Warrant proceedings, adopted by the LIBE Committee in its report of May 2015. The study concludes that the adoption of these amendments would have a generally positive impact on the fundamental rights of suspects and accused persons. The right to legal aid, and thus, equal access to justice, would be further enhanced. In particular, the ‘practical’ enjoyment of the right of access to a lawyer (Directive 2013/48/EU) by indigent people would be ensured. Overall, the justice systems of the Member States investigated in this study would benefit from the adoption of the legal aid guarantees provided by the amendments. Evidence shows that a well-functioning legal aid system can streamline the proceedings, reduce the length of time suspects are held in police stations/detention centres, and limit the number of wrongful convictions, prison overcrowding and congestion in courts. The amendments would, however, imply certain additional cost burdens for Member States’ administrations.

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