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Posted on 19-07-2017

Reception of asylum-seekers - recast Directive

19-07-2017

States must treat asylum-seekers and refugees according to the appropriate standards laid down in human rights and refugee law. The current migration crisis revealed wide divergences in the level of reception conditions provided by Member States. While some are facing problems in ensuring adequate and dignified treatment of applicants, in others the standards of reception provided are more generous. This has led to secondary movements of asylum-seekers and refugees, and has put pressure on certain ...

States must treat asylum-seekers and refugees according to the appropriate standards laid down in human rights and refugee law. The current migration crisis revealed wide divergences in the level of reception conditions provided by Member States. While some are facing problems in ensuring adequate and dignified treatment of applicants, in others the standards of reception provided are more generous. This has led to secondary movements of asylum-seekers and refugees, and has put pressure on certain Member States. The aim of the proposed recast directive, which would replace the current Reception Conditions Directive, is to ensure greater harmonisation of reception standards and more equal treatment of asylum-seekers across all Member States, as well as to avoid 'asylum shopping' whereby asylum-seekers choose the Member State with the highest protection standards for their application. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

New rules for managing the EU external fishing fleet

19-07-2017

Following trilogue negotiations, the Parliament is to be asked to approve in plenary a revised system of issuing and managing fishing authorisations, intended to improve monitoring and transparency of the EU external fishing fleet. The new legislation will replace the current 'Fishing Authorisations Regulation' 1006/2008, and will cover all EU vessels fishing outside EU waters, as well as third-country vessels fishing in EU waters. The current scope of the authorisation system would be extended to ...

Following trilogue negotiations, the Parliament is to be asked to approve in plenary a revised system of issuing and managing fishing authorisations, intended to improve monitoring and transparency of the EU external fishing fleet. The new legislation will replace the current 'Fishing Authorisations Regulation' 1006/2008, and will cover all EU vessels fishing outside EU waters, as well as third-country vessels fishing in EU waters. The current scope of the authorisation system would be extended to include practices poorly monitored so far, such as private agreements between EU companies and third countries and abusive reflagging operations. Member States would authorise fishing vessels using common eligibility criteria, complemented by specific conditions depending on the nature of the authorisation. Part of the electronic fishing authorisations register, showing who fishes what and where, would for the first time be publicly accessible. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 595.886, January 2017.

Posted on 18-07-2017

Single market information tool (SMIT)

18-07-2017

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by measures such as price discrimination based on residency, geo-blocking of online audio-visual content, or limited cross-border parcel delivery. While many businesses do not cooperate with the Commission by e.g. disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. On 2 May 2017, the Commission presented a 'compliance ...

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by measures such as price discrimination based on residency, geo-blocking of online audio-visual content, or limited cross-border parcel delivery. While many businesses do not cooperate with the Commission by e.g. disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. On 2 May 2017, the Commission presented a 'compliance package' of three proposals on enhancing the practical functioning of the single market. One of these introduces the single market information tool (SMIT). The use of SMIT would be a measure of last resort and subject to confidentiality requirements. SMIT would provide the Commission with e.g. powers to request business-related information (such as cost structure or product volumes sold), and to address regulatory and market failures in a more timely and efficient way.

Posted on 17-07-2017

Hybrid mismatches with third countries

17-07-2017

Hybrid mismatch is a situation where a cross-border activity is treated differently for tax purposes by the countries involved, resulting in favourable tax treatment. Hybrid mismatches are used as aggressive tax planning structures, which in turn trigger policy reactions to neutralise their tax effects. When adopting the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive in July 2016, the Council requested that the Commission put forward a proposal on hybrid mismatches involving third countries. The amendment proposed ...

Hybrid mismatch is a situation where a cross-border activity is treated differently for tax purposes by the countries involved, resulting in favourable tax treatment. Hybrid mismatches are used as aggressive tax planning structures, which in turn trigger policy reactions to neutralise their tax effects. When adopting the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive in July 2016, the Council requested that the Commission put forward a proposal on hybrid mismatches involving third countries. The amendment proposed by the Commission on 25 October broadens the provisions of the directive accordingly. It seeks to neutralise mismatches by obliging Member States to deny the deduction of payments by taxpayers or by requiring taxpayers to include a payment or a profit in their taxable income. The Parliament’s opinion was prepared by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. As this is a tax measure, Parliament is only consulted. The proposal was adopted by the Council on 29 May 2017.

Money Market Funds: Measures to improve stability and liquidity

17-07-2017

Money Market Funds (MMFs) are a type of collective fund that invest in short-term debt and provide financing for financial institutions, corporations and governments. During the financial crisis their liquidity and stability were challenged, which prompted the Commission to propose a regulation on MMFs, in 2013. Its proposal aimed to improve their ability to weather stressed market conditions, mainly through establishing a capital buffer, introducing conditions on portfolio structure, addressing ...

Money Market Funds (MMFs) are a type of collective fund that invest in short-term debt and provide financing for financial institutions, corporations and governments. During the financial crisis their liquidity and stability were challenged, which prompted the Commission to propose a regulation on MMFs, in 2013. Its proposal aimed to improve their ability to weather stressed market conditions, mainly through establishing a capital buffer, introducing conditions on portfolio structure, addressing over-reliance on external credit rating agencies and improving their internal risk management, transparency and reporting. The final text lays down rules and common standards to ensure that MMFs have a stable structure and improved liquidity, that they invest in diversified assets of a sufficiently high credit quality, and are able to deal with unexpected redemption requests. It was approved by the EP in April 2017 and by the Council in May. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 589.826, October 2016.

Briefing for the ENVI delegation to the Porto Marghera refinery in Venice on 17-18 July 2017

14-07-2017

The EU has set a target to replace 10% of transport fuel of every EU country by fuels from renewable sources by 2020. In 2015, 6.7% of final energy used in the EU-28 came from renewable sources. However, efforts will have to increase in order to meet the 10% renewable energy target in 2020. delegation to the Porto Marghera refinery in Venice on 17-19 July 2017. An ENVI delegation is to visit the world’s first example of the conversion of a conventional refinery into a bio-refinery able to transform ...

The EU has set a target to replace 10% of transport fuel of every EU country by fuels from renewable sources by 2020. In 2015, 6.7% of final energy used in the EU-28 came from renewable sources. However, efforts will have to increase in order to meet the 10% renewable energy target in 2020. delegation to the Porto Marghera refinery in Venice on 17-19 July 2017. An ENVI delegation is to visit the world’s first example of the conversion of a conventional refinery into a bio-refinery able to transform organic raw materials into high quality biofuels. The ENI's "Green Refinery project" at Porto Marghera produces green diesel, green naphtha, LPG and potentially jet fuel. It is currently fed by palm oil, but the plan is also to use biomass.

External author

Anne Siemons, Klaus Hennenberg, Hannes Böttcher

Posted on 14-07-2017

How the EU budget is spent: Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation

14-07-2017

The EU's Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) was created to help promote a high level of nuclear safety, radiation protection, and safeguards for nuclear material outside the EU. It does this by funding peer support for, and technical assistance to, third countries that are managing or in the process of developing nuclear power. EU cooperation in the field of nuclear energy dates back to the EU's post-war beginnings, but financial assistance to non-EU countries only began in the 1990s ...

The EU's Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) was created to help promote a high level of nuclear safety, radiation protection, and safeguards for nuclear material outside the EU. It does this by funding peer support for, and technical assistance to, third countries that are managing or in the process of developing nuclear power. EU cooperation in the field of nuclear energy dates back to the EU's post-war beginnings, but financial assistance to non-EU countries only began in the 1990s, with the TACIS programme to help the countries that emerged from the former Soviet Union to manage their nuclear legacy.

Deepening EMU and fiscal union: Risk sharing versus risk reduction

14-07-2017

The debate on how to deepen economic and monetary union (EMU) is in full swing, despite gradual recovery since 2015 from the 2007-2008 crisis. There is controversy surrounding whether delegation of monetary sovereignty to EMU necessarily entails some euro-area fiscal stabilisation competences and, if so, what kind. Proposals for such a mechanism range from (re)insurance solutions, investment strategies and funding instruments, to actual budgetary competence for the euro area. Current research supports ...

The debate on how to deepen economic and monetary union (EMU) is in full swing, despite gradual recovery since 2015 from the 2007-2008 crisis. There is controversy surrounding whether delegation of monetary sovereignty to EMU necessarily entails some euro-area fiscal stabilisation competences and, if so, what kind. Proposals for such a mechanism range from (re)insurance solutions, investment strategies and funding instruments, to actual budgetary competence for the euro area. Current research supports a stronger EMU fiscal union and the introduction of stabilising policy instruments. However, the capacity to absorb future shocks will also depend on the ability to off-set diverging trends between Member States, caused by different economic systems and labour market institutions. Despite recent signs of economic recovery, divergence may prove difficult to reverse. In June 2015, the Five Presidents' Report contributed to the debate about a euro-area 'fiscal union' by suggesting the development of a fiscal stabilisation function by 2025. Initially announced as a white paper, the European Commission's reflection paper on the 'deepening of the economic and monetary union', presented on 31 May 2017, does not formulate concrete steps, as envisaged in the 2015 report. Instead it offers four guiding principles on how to build the future EMU architecture. 'At the latest' by 2025, a 'central stabilisation function' could take the form of a European investment protection scheme or a European unemployment reinsurance scheme. This briefing is one in a series on the European Commission's reflection papers following up the March 2017 White Paper on the future of Europe.

Euro area recovery and reform [What Think Tanks are thinking]

14-07-2017

The euro area's economic recovery has gained pace as investor confidence has strengthened. The election of the reform-minded Emmanuel Macron as French President in May reignited the debate on overhauling the euro area’s economic governance. This note offers links to recent commentaries and studies on the economic situation of the euro area and reform proposals.

The euro area's economic recovery has gained pace as investor confidence has strengthened. The election of the reform-minded Emmanuel Macron as French President in May reignited the debate on overhauling the euro area’s economic governance. This note offers links to recent commentaries and studies on the economic situation of the euro area and reform proposals.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Japan free trade agreement within reach

14-07-2017

Negotiations on an EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) were officially launched in March 2013. Following 18 rounds of negotiations and a number of meetings at the technical and political levels, a political agreement in principle was reached during the 24th EU-Japan Summit in Brussels, on 6 July 2017. Negotiations on the outstanding issues that were left on the table will continue, with the aim of finalising the text of the agreement by the end of 2017. The deal with Japan, the EU's second largest ...

Negotiations on an EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) were officially launched in March 2013. Following 18 rounds of negotiations and a number of meetings at the technical and political levels, a political agreement in principle was reached during the 24th EU-Japan Summit in Brussels, on 6 July 2017. Negotiations on the outstanding issues that were left on the table will continue, with the aim of finalising the text of the agreement by the end of 2017. The deal with Japan, the EU's second largest trading partner in Asia, will enhance trade and investment relationships between the two parties. European companies, in the agri-food sector for instance, will benefit from improved access to the Japanese market, mainly through the reduction both of tariffs on specific goods as well as existing regulatory and non-tariff barriers. The 2016 trade sustainability impact assessment for the EU-Japan FTA indicated that the EU-Japan FTA and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, involving the EU and the USA, would result in similar levels of economic gains for Europe. According to recent Commission estimates, European companies will save up to €1 billion in customs duties per year as a result of the EU-Japan FTA. Moreover, the value of EU goods and services exports could rise by up to €20 billion. This briefing is an update of an earlier version, of October 2016: PE 589.828.

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