1408

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Have European banks actually changed since the start of the crisis? An updated assessment of their main structural characteristics

24-07-2017

This paper documents trends in key bank variables over the 2003-2016 period for the set of banks that the ECB directly supervises as of January 1, 2017. A range of variables is considered that together indicate to what extent banks have been moving in the direction of better performance and greater stability. We examine variables related to bank profitability, activity mix, size, balance sheet composition, and loan impairment. The identified trends provide a mixed picture of whether banks have been ...

This paper documents trends in key bank variables over the 2003-2016 period for the set of banks that the ECB directly supervises as of January 1, 2017. A range of variables is considered that together indicate to what extent banks have been moving in the direction of better performance and greater stability. We examine variables related to bank profitability, activity mix, size, balance sheet composition, and loan impairment. The identified trends provide a mixed picture of whether banks have been moving in the right direction since the start of the crisis.

External author

Ata Can Bertay, Harry Huizinga

EU-Cuba relations: a new chapter begins

18-07-2017

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence ...

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence can already be applied provisionally, but the agreement will only enter into force in full after it has been ratified in all the EU Member States. Since negotiations on the PDCA began in 2014, Cuba’s relations with the EU and individual Member States have intensified considerably. For the EU, the PDCA is a tool for supporting a process of change and modernisation in Cuba, while for Cuba it represents the ‘normalisation’ of the relationship with an important economic and trade partner and helps it to diversify its external relations. Parliament will focus, in monitoring the implementation of the PDCA, on two areas of particular concern to the EP: human rights and civil liberties on Cuba, and the role of Cuban civil society.

Ten more technologies which could change our lives

14-07-2017

In 2015, the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) broke new ground with its publication 'Ten technologies which could change our lives – potential impacts and policy implications', with each chapter highlighting a particular technology, its promises and potential negative consequences, and the role that the European Parliament could and should play in shaping these developments. This new study continues this work, presenting ten additional technologies ...

In 2015, the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) broke new ground with its publication 'Ten technologies which could change our lives – potential impacts and policy implications', with each chapter highlighting a particular technology, its promises and potential negative consequences, and the role that the European Parliament could and should play in shaping these developments. This new study continues this work, presenting ten additional technologies that will increasingly require the attention of policy-makers. The topics for the current study have been chosen to reflect the wide range of topics that the Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel has decided to focus upon for the eighth parliamentary term (2014-2019). The aim of the publication is not only to draw attention to these ten particular technologies, but also to promote further reflection about other technological developments that may still be at an early stage but that could, in a similar way, massively impact our lives in the short- or longer-term future.

The European Council in 2016: Overview of decisions and discussions

13-07-2017

This In-Depth Analysis by the European Council Oversight Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is the second in a series of annual publications examining the activity of the European Council. In 2016, the Heads of State or Government devoted most of their attention to three policy areas: migration; foreign and security policy; and economic governance, competitiveness and trade. The publication also considers the impact of the United Kingdom referendum vote on the proceedings ...

This In-Depth Analysis by the European Council Oversight Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is the second in a series of annual publications examining the activity of the European Council. In 2016, the Heads of State or Government devoted most of their attention to three policy areas: migration; foreign and security policy; and economic governance, competitiveness and trade. The publication also considers the impact of the United Kingdom referendum vote on the proceedings of the European Council, both procedurally (EU 28 and EU-27 meetings) and thematically (policy priorities and debates on the future of a Europe-at-27). The European Council has carried out its strategic, deliberative, and follow-up roles throughout the year. This was particularly notable when it dealt with migration, which attracted 50 % of the attention of the Heads of State or Government, as shown in the conclusions of their debates. The European Council President, Donald Tusk, continued to report to the European Parliament on the outcomes of the European Council meetings, as required by the Treaties.

The European Commission at mid-term: State of play of President Juncker’s ten priorities

11-07-2017

This publication provides an overview of the work carried out by the European Commission at the mid-term of its mandate under Jean-Claude Juncker's presidency, and more specifically an update of the initiatives taken in the framework of the ten priority areas for action. The in-depth analysis draws on a wide range of EPRS publications, and updates a previous edition The Juncker Commission's ten priorities: state of play at the start of 2017, published in January 2017. It has been compiled and edited ...

This publication provides an overview of the work carried out by the European Commission at the mid-term of its mandate under Jean-Claude Juncker's presidency, and more specifically an update of the initiatives taken in the framework of the ten priority areas for action. The in-depth analysis draws on a wide range of EPRS publications, and updates a previous edition The Juncker Commission's ten priorities: state of play at the start of 2017, published in January 2017. It has been compiled and edited by Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart, with contributions and support from across the Members' Research Service and the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value of EPRS, in particular from the following policy analysts: Piotr Bakowski, Angelos Delivorias, Gregor Erbach, Elena Lazarou, Tambiama Madiega, Shara Monteleone, Anita Orav, Laura Puccio, Christian Scheinert, Andrej Stuchlik, Marcin Szczepanski, Laura Tilindyte and Sofija Voronova. The graphics are by Giulio Sabbati, and are derived from the 'Legislative Train Schedule' application, recently launched by Parliament to track progress on the Commission's legislative proposals.

Access to culture in the European Union

10-07-2017

Culture, a broad term with a variety of interpretations, is a competence of Member States. However, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union vests the EU with a supportive role towards Member States' cultural policies, protection of cultural heritage, promotion of culture and cultural cooperation. The Commission's culture work programme covers accessible and inclusive culture as an objective of EU cultural actions, in the conviction that culture can play a role in social integration, education ...

Culture, a broad term with a variety of interpretations, is a competence of Member States. However, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union vests the EU with a supportive role towards Member States' cultural policies, protection of cultural heritage, promotion of culture and cultural cooperation. The Commission's culture work programme covers accessible and inclusive culture as an objective of EU cultural actions, in the conviction that culture can play a role in social integration, education and well-being, in terms of consumption and also through active engagement. People consume cultural goods and services by attending cultural events, such as concerts, film screenings, plays, exhibitions and dance and music performances, visiting heritage sites or museums, and reading books and newspapers, as ways to spend leisure time and achieve personal development. By measuring and accessing the impact of cultural consumption on Europeans' lives and the cost, availability, accessibility and attractiveness of the culture on offer, cultural policy makers and fund providers can make informed decisions on the directions and risks to take. Supporting access to culture and cultural consumption can also contribute to the development of the cultural sector and the cultural and creative industry, which has developed significantly over recent years. Having resisted the 2008 crisis, it contributes to around 3.5 % of EU GDP and 3 % of EU jobs. The cultural services and goods on offer in the EU are diverse and rich, but the missing link is support on the demand side in terms of audience building and the promotion of a varied 'cultural diet'.

Economic Dialogue and Exchange of Views with the President of the Council (ECOFIN)

10-07-2017

Toomas Töniste, Minister of Finance of Estonia, is participating in the ECON Committee as current President of the ECOFIN Council during the Estonia Presidency (July - December 2017). According to the Treaty of the Union “Member States shall regard their economic policies as a matter of common concern and shall coordinate them within the Council”. This briefing reviews recent developments with regard to Economic Governance issues, including activities in the context of the European Semester, as well ...

Toomas Töniste, Minister of Finance of Estonia, is participating in the ECON Committee as current President of the ECOFIN Council during the Estonia Presidency (July - December 2017). According to the Treaty of the Union “Member States shall regard their economic policies as a matter of common concern and shall coordinate them within the Council”. This briefing reviews recent developments with regard to Economic Governance issues, including activities in the context of the European Semester, as well as the latest developments in completing the Banking Union.

Precautionary recapitalisations: time for a review

06-07-2017

The first part of the paper considers the effects of pre-empting a resolution procedure for a troubled financial institution by a precautionary recapitalization as specified in Article 32 (4) (d) of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). Benefits are seen for the maintenance of systemically important operations of an institution with legally independent subsidiaries in multiple jurisdictions and possibly for the maintenance of lending in situations where an entire banking system is involved ...

The first part of the paper considers the effects of pre-empting a resolution procedure for a troubled financial institution by a precautionary recapitalization as specified in Article 32 (4) (d) of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). Benefits are seen for the maintenance of systemically important operations of an institution with legally independent subsidiaries in multiple jurisdictions and possibly for the maintenance of lending in situations where an entire banking system is involved. Other systemic concerns, such as the maintenance of lending when only part of a banking system is affected, the avoidance of damage to money markets, and potential systemic effects from bailing in creditors, can be addressed in a resolution procedure under the rules of the BRRD and do not require the instrument of a precautionary recapitalization. The second part of the paper provides a critical assessment of Article 32 (4) (d) of the BRRD and finds some weaknesses that contribute to raising taxpayers’ costs or to reducing the effectiveness of the operation. The availability of precautionary recapitalization outside of resolution contributes to undue and costly delays in acknowledging and addressing problems. The conditions specified in the Directive are problematic, sometimes too tough, sometimes too lenient, most importantly because the objectives of State aid control differ from the objectives of the BRRD. The paper concludes with suggestions for reform.

External author

Martin Friedrich Hellwig

The Protection of the Procedural Rights of Persons Concerned by OLAF Administrative Investigations and the Admissibility of OLAF Final Reports as Criminal Evidence

06-07-2017

This paper provides an analysis of two crucial and interconnected aspects of the current legal framework on the investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF): the procedural safeguards for the individuals subject to the administrative investigations conducted by OLAF and the admissibility in evidence of OLAF Final Reports in national criminal proceedings. The state of the art and its shortcomings are analysed in the double perspective of the coherent protection of the EU’s financial ...

This paper provides an analysis of two crucial and interconnected aspects of the current legal framework on the investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF): the procedural safeguards for the individuals subject to the administrative investigations conducted by OLAF and the admissibility in evidence of OLAF Final Reports in national criminal proceedings. The state of the art and its shortcomings are analysed in the double perspective of the coherent protection of the EU’s financial interests and of the respect of fundamental rights provided by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

External author

Katalin Ligeti

Energy Charter: A multilateral process for managing commercial energy relations

05-07-2017

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) was originally conceived as a multilateral framework to facilitate commercial energy relations across the Eurasian continent. In order to secure sufficient investor protection, the ECT provides for the possibility of legal dispute settlement mechanisms. The outcome of such proceedings have been broadly balanced, although some states now perceive them as contrary to their national interest. The withdrawal of Russia from the ECT in 2009 was a major blow to the process ...

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) was originally conceived as a multilateral framework to facilitate commercial energy relations across the Eurasian continent. In order to secure sufficient investor protection, the ECT provides for the possibility of legal dispute settlement mechanisms. The outcome of such proceedings have been broadly balanced, although some states now perceive them as contrary to their national interest. The withdrawal of Russia from the ECT in 2009 was a major blow to the process, prompting a strategic shift and a focus on newer priorities. Member countries (including the EU and 27 of its Member States) together with the Energy Charter Secretariat have sought to adopt a more global outlook for the Energy Charter. This has already had a notable success in the form of the 2015 International Energy Charter, signed by 80 countries, which is the lynchpin of a broader process of global outreach and international engagement.

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