ThinkTank logo The documents that help shape new EU legislation
Posted on 23-04-2018

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.

Posted on 20-04-2018

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.

Posted on 19-04-2018

Adapting to new digital realities: Main issues and policy responses

19-04-2018

Digital technologies have changed the way we live and transformed the world around us at unprecedented speed. They have affected all important aspects of life, both at work and at home, and have influenced almost everything from human relations to the economy, to the extent that access to the internet has now become a basic human right recognised by the United Nations. This profound change presents both opportunities and threats to our society. Citizens need specific skills and access to be able ...

Digital technologies have changed the way we live and transformed the world around us at unprecedented speed. They have affected all important aspects of life, both at work and at home, and have influenced almost everything from human relations to the economy, to the extent that access to the internet has now become a basic human right recognised by the United Nations. This profound change presents both opportunities and threats to our society. Citizens need specific skills and access to be able to meaningfully take part in society and work. European businesses need an adequate policy framework and infrastructure to capture the enormous value created by the digital economy. Supporting innovation, removing barriers in the digital single market, and effectively managing and using data are the necessary tools to assist them and boost economic growth in Europe. The European Union takes an active part in shaping the digital economy and society, with cross policy initiatives that range from boosting investment, through reforms of copyright and e privacy, to removal of geo-blocking and development of e-government. This multifaceted approach is necessary to facilitate adaptation to complex new realities. The European Parliament, as co legislator, is involved in shaping the policy framework which will help citizens and businesses fully utilise the potential of digital technologies.

The regions in the digital single market: ICT and digital opportunities for European regions

19-04-2018

The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. The European Commission estimates that completing the digital single market could contribute €415 billion per year to Europe's economy, create 3.8 million jobs and transform public services. In addition, many future jobs will require information and communications technologies (ICT) skills, rendering the process of acquiring digital skills an imperative. The European Commission has presented several initiatives to ...

The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. The European Commission estimates that completing the digital single market could contribute €415 billion per year to Europe's economy, create 3.8 million jobs and transform public services. In addition, many future jobs will require information and communications technologies (ICT) skills, rendering the process of acquiring digital skills an imperative. The European Commission has presented several initiatives to boost the use of ICT in Europe. The Digital Agenda for Europe, announced in 2010 in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, aimed at promoting economic recovery and improving social inclusion through a more digitally proficient Europe. The Digital Single Market strategy, introduced in 2015, complements the Digital Agenda for Europe. Achieving a digital single market will ensure that Europe maintains its position as a world leader in the digital economy, helping European companies to grow globally. In 2016, the European Commission adopted a new Skills Agenda for Europe which includes measures on the acquisition of digital skills. Although many of the digital single market priorities are primarily dealt with at national level, various initiatives can be explored at the local and regional level. Regions and cities can plan and pursue their own digital strategies in the interests of enhancing economic growth and to promote their citizens' wellbeing. Enhanced use of digital technologies can improve citizens' access to information and culture, promote open government, equality and non-discrimination. However, a number of challenges need to be addressed to fully reap the benefits of digitalisation. Personnel with ICT skills are still lacking in Europe and many European citizens are not adequately trained to carry out ICT-related tasks. In addition, broadband connectivity in some parts of Europe remains slow. Although certain EU regions and local authorities experiment with new technologies, not all of them have managed to provide a high-level range of digital services and ICT related activities. This briefing is an update of an earlier edition, published in October 2015.

Transport and Tourism in Ireland

15-03-2018

This overview of the transport and tourism sectors in Ireland was prepared to provide information for the mission of the Transport and Tourism Committee to the country in 2018 (04-06 April).

This overview of the transport and tourism sectors in Ireland was prepared to provide information for the mission of the Transport and Tourism Committee to the country in 2018 (04-06 April).

Posted on 17-04-2018

A renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

17-04-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the above-mentioned impact assessment (IA), which originally accompanied the joint communication on a renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, published on 22 November 2016. Subsequently, on 12 December 2017, the Commission adopted a recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations with the countries of the Cotonou Agreement, which was referred to ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the above-mentioned impact assessment (IA), which originally accompanied the joint communication on a renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, published on 22 November 2016. Subsequently, on 12 December 2017, the Commission adopted a recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations with the countries of the Cotonou Agreement, which was referred to Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET). The Commission considers the analysis and conclusions of the impact assessment conducted in 2016 for the joint communication to be valid for the December 2017 recommendation for the opening of negotiations, which are to begin officially before 1 September 2018.

Revision of consumer law directives (including injunctions):the 'New Deal for Consumers'

17-04-2018

Following the creation of an internal market, in which goods should be able to circulate freely to the benefit of producers, traders and consumers alike, the digital revolution has both increased the chances for growth in trade and highlighted the existing obstacles, such as differences in the details of consumer protection legislation. Following an extensive evaluation exercise focused on a number of EU directives adopted over the years, the European Commission is keen to simplify, streamline and ...

Following the creation of an internal market, in which goods should be able to circulate freely to the benefit of producers, traders and consumers alike, the digital revolution has both increased the chances for growth in trade and highlighted the existing obstacles, such as differences in the details of consumer protection legislation. Following an extensive evaluation exercise focused on a number of EU directives adopted over the years, the European Commission is keen to simplify, streamline and modernise the existing EU consumer rules to ensure that they are future-proof, as well as to facilitate the necessary coordination and effective action from national authorities and public enforcement bodies. In its 2018 work programme, the European Commission announced that it would be introducing a package of legislative proposals including a wide range of proposed directives. The package is aimed at filling a number of very specific gaps in current EU consumer law, while also taking due account of ongoing legislative procedures related to online and offline sales of goods and digital content. This implementation appraisal aims to cover all the directives (cf. tables 1-7) that form the basis of the area targeted by the package.

EU aid for trade: Taking stock and looking forward

17-04-2018

Representing a third of global official development aid flows annually, aid for trade (AfT) has been on the rise. AfT has a very broad scope that includes projects ranging from building roads and modernising ports, to developing the banking sector, helping local food producers to comply with phytosanitary standards and providing more specific trade-related assistance, such as technical support in trade negotiations. Today, more than a decade after the launch in 2006 of the World Trade Organization's ...

Representing a third of global official development aid flows annually, aid for trade (AfT) has been on the rise. AfT has a very broad scope that includes projects ranging from building roads and modernising ports, to developing the banking sector, helping local food producers to comply with phytosanitary standards and providing more specific trade-related assistance, such as technical support in trade negotiations. Today, more than a decade after the launch in 2006 of the World Trade Organization's AfT initiative, which established a common framework for action, most commentators agree that AfT investments have helped developing – especially Asian – countries, to improve and diversify their export and trade performance. However, its impact on poverty reduction has been much less clear. The evaluation of AfT is done in a fragmented manner, which makes the exercise quite tricky, leaving space for very divergent opinions. The EU is a world leader in AfT, both in terms of volume and in policy formulation. Adopted in 2007, the EU Aid for trade strategy helped to link the Union's development and trade agendas, often perceived as incompatible, and complemented the EU's preferential trade schemes for developing countries. The 2017 strategy update, after the introduction of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals and the new European consensus on development, was an opportunity to consider the future direction of AfT and reflect on its effectiveness. The EU reaffirmed its commitments to AfT, while putting more emphasis on bridging the digital gap, empowering women and improving the situation of the least developed countries in global trade systems.

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