1671

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Policy area
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Keyword
Date

Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices

16-01-2017

Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices cover a wide array of products. The EU legal framework for such devices was harmonised in the 1990s. The European Commission presented a pair of proposals for regulations in September 2012, to update the framework. Following Parliament's first readings in April 2014, the Council agreed its positions in October 2015. At the conclusion of the trilogue meetings, agreement was reached on both proposals on 25 May 2016. This was endorsed by the Council's ...

Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices cover a wide array of products. The EU legal framework for such devices was harmonised in the 1990s. The European Commission presented a pair of proposals for regulations in September 2012, to update the framework. Following Parliament's first readings in April 2014, the Council agreed its positions in October 2015. At the conclusion of the trilogue meetings, agreement was reached on both proposals on 25 May 2016. This was endorsed by the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee on 15 June and confirmed by Parliament's ENVI Committee on the same day. Political agreement in the Council was reached in September. Both drafts are now undergoing legal-linguistic revision. The formal first reading of the Council is expected early this year, followed by final approval, at second reading, by Parliament. This updates a previous edition, from June 2016: PE 583.812.

Crowdfunding in Europe: Introduction and state of play

16-01-2017

Crowdfunding is a relatively 'young' form of financing – especially for SMEs and start-ups, but also for not-for-profit projects – that is developing fast in Europe. While researchers point out its benefits, among them the fact that project owners have greater control, and financial risk is spread among a larger number of people, they also note its drawbacks. The latter include a high cost of capital, occasional displays of a 'herd mentality', capable of depriving potentially worthier projects of ...

Crowdfunding is a relatively 'young' form of financing – especially for SMEs and start-ups, but also for not-for-profit projects – that is developing fast in Europe. While researchers point out its benefits, among them the fact that project owners have greater control, and financial risk is spread among a larger number of people, they also note its drawbacks. The latter include a high cost of capital, occasional displays of a 'herd mentality', capable of depriving potentially worthier projects of adequate funding, and risks for investors from incompetence or fraud on the part of the project owners, and unclear regulations. The European Commission (through a communication and two reports) and the European Parliament (through three resolutions) have taken an active interest in this form of financing. As a result, the Commission recently conducted a study on the state of the European crowdfunding market. It found that, while crowdfunding is developing fast, it is still concentrated in a few countries (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands), which have introduced tailored domestic regimes, and that it remains, for the time being, a national phenomenon with limited cross-border activity. The study therefore concluded that for the moment there is no strong case for EU-level policy intervention. Nonetheless, given the encouraging trends and the potential of crowdfunding to become a key source of financing for SMEs over the long term, the Commission noted that it will maintain regular dialogue with European supervisory authorities, Member States and the crowdfunding sector to monitor and review its development.

A Nuclear Ban Treaty: Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations

13-01-2017

On 23 December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, thus paving the way for a conference in 2017 to ‘negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination’. The adoption of the resolution has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative that has gained ground in the last few years to rid the world of the most destructive weapon known to humankind ...

On 23 December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, thus paving the way for a conference in 2017 to ‘negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination’. The adoption of the resolution has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative that has gained ground in the last few years to rid the world of the most destructive weapon known to humankind. Opponents of a ‘ban treaty’ argue that the deterrence provided by nuclear weapons is essential to maintain the existing global order, and the official nuclear-weapon states have mostly indicated that they will not participate in the conference. The majority of United Nations member states voted in favour of the resolution, but five nuclear-armed states and all but four NATO members voted against it. EU Member States, most of which are members of NATO, have taken different positions on the prospect of a nuclear weapons ban, with some supporting it, but most against. The European Parliament welcomed the convening of a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, noting that this would reinforce the non-proliferation and disarmament objectives and obligations contained in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and help to create the conditions for global security and a world without nuclear weapons. In a resolution adopted on 27 October 2016, the European Parliament invited the EU Member States to support the convening of such a conference in 2017 and ‘to participate constructively in its proceedings’.

Public country-by-country reporting by multinational enterprises

12-01-2017

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax ...

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax paid at the place where profits are actually made. Public country-by-country reporting (CBCR) is the publication of a defined set of facts and figures by large MNEs, thereby providing the public with a global picture of the taxes MNEs pay on their corporate income. First edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons

12-01-2017

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aims to ban some ...

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aims to ban some semi-automatic firearms for civilian use, as well as to include some previously excluded actors (collectors and brokers) and blank-firing weapons within the scope of the Directive. Stakeholders commented particularly on the proposed ban on some semi-automatic firearms and the obligation for collectors to deactivate firearms. After several rounds of trilogue negotiations, the Council and Parliament reached agreement on the proposal in December. The text is now to be submitted for a vote in plenary at first reading. This updates a previous edition, of September 2016: PE 586.656.

New civil aviation safety rules

12-01-2017

Despite some recent high-profile disasters, flying remains one of the safest forms of transport and the EU's accident rate is lower than in the rest of the world. However, it cannot automatically be assumed that such performance will continue, as global air traffic is forecast to double over the next 20 years. In addition, new technologies, such as unmanned aircraft (drones), are also appearing in European skies, which require adaption of the current regulatory framework. In December 2015, the European ...

Despite some recent high-profile disasters, flying remains one of the safest forms of transport and the EU's accident rate is lower than in the rest of the world. However, it cannot automatically be assumed that such performance will continue, as global air traffic is forecast to double over the next 20 years. In addition, new technologies, such as unmanned aircraft (drones), are also appearing in European skies, which require adaption of the current regulatory framework. In December 2015, the European Commission proposed to replace the current Regulation on civil aviation safety and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The new proposal would introduce risk- and performance-based rules, close some safety gaps and interlinks safety more closely with other domains such as security and the environment. It proposes to strengthen EASA's role and take several measures to use existing resources more efficiently (e.g. sharing aviation inspectors). It also introduces essential requirements for drones. In November 2016, the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism generally backed the updated rules, in particular the idea of regulating drones at EU level. The report constitutes Parliament’s position for negotiations with the Council, which adopted its general approach for the negotiations with the Parliament on 1 December 2016. This updates an earlier edition, of January 2016: PE 573.933.

Human rights in EU trade policy: Unilateral measures

12-01-2017

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic ...

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic violations of core human rights or labour rights norms. A special incentive arrangement grants further tariff concessions to countries that ratify and implement a series of international conventions. Based on systematic monitoring by the European Commission, this is the most comprehensive and detailed human rights mechanism established in the framework of EU common commercial policy. In practice, the EU has privileged a strategy of incentivising gradual progress through dialogue and monitoring, rather than withdrawing preferences. Suspension of preferences under GSP is rarely applied and, when it is, it does not have an immediate and clear impact. The EU's unilateral trade measures to protect human rights are not limited to the GSP. The EU has taken steps to prohibit or limit trade in items that could cause human rights violations, such as torture and execution items, or dual use goods. New legislation is being considered on conflict minerals, and the European Parliament has asked for a proposal for legislation to ban the import of goods produced using child labour. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Macro-Financial Assistance to EU Member States - State of Play, January 2017

12-01-2017

This document provides regularly updated information on EU Member States receiving financial assistance from the ESM, the EFSF, the EFSM, the EU balance of payments assistance facility, other Member States and/or the IMF. It also covers the post-programme reviews undertaken by the European Commission (EC) in liaison with the ECB (Post-Programme Surveillance, PPS), the IMF (Post-Programme Monitoring, PPM) and the ESM (Early Warning System, EWS).

This document provides regularly updated information on EU Member States receiving financial assistance from the ESM, the EFSF, the EFSM, the EU balance of payments assistance facility, other Member States and/or the IMF. It also covers the post-programme reviews undertaken by the European Commission (EC) in liaison with the ECB (Post-Programme Surveillance, PPS), the IMF (Post-Programme Monitoring, PPM) and the ESM (Early Warning System, EWS).

Key Macroeconomic Indicators for Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Portugal

12-01-2017

This document provides an overview of the progress made based on a selection of key indicators in Member States that are or have been subject to a Macroeconomic Adjustment Programme. Greece is still under a programme, while Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus have exited their programme and are now under so-called post-programme surveillance.

This document provides an overview of the progress made based on a selection of key indicators in Member States that are or have been subject to a Macroeconomic Adjustment Programme. Greece is still under a programme, while Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus have exited their programme and are now under so-called post-programme surveillance.

Review of dual-use export controls

11-01-2017

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for the development of weapons of mass-destruction, terrorist acts and human rights violations; these so-called ‘dual-use’ goods are subject to the European Union’s export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation recasts the regulation in force since ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for the development of weapons of mass-destruction, terrorist acts and human rights violations; these so-called ‘dual-use’ goods are subject to the European Union’s export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation recasts the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal introduces a controversial new ‘human security’ dimension to export controls, to prevent the abuse of certain cyber-surveillance technologies by regimes with a questionable human rights record. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission issued a joint statement on the review of the dual-use export control system in 2014 and the European Parliament has since adopted several resolutions related to the issue. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Upcoming events

24-01-2017
"The role of lawyers, accountants and bankers in Panama Papers"
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PANA
24-01-2017
Workshop : Human Rights in Iran after the nuclear deal
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DROI
24-01-2017
Academic Further and Distance Education as Part of the Lifelong Learning Strategy
Hearing -
CULT

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