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European Council Conclusions

23-06-2016

This eighth edition of the overview of European Council conclusions, presented in the form of a Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date, is a product of the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank. As part of its work, the unit maintains a rolling database of all the European Council's commitments and responsibilities, which is updated and published regularly, with an indication ...

This eighth edition of the overview of European Council conclusions, presented in the form of a Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date, is a product of the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank. As part of its work, the unit maintains a rolling database of all the European Council's commitments and responsibilities, which is updated and published regularly, with an indication of follow-up given to date.The European Council became a formal Union institution, with a full-time President, under the Treaty of Lisbon. Although it does not exercise legislative functions, the European Council's role – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has developed rapidly over the past seven years. As an example of setting overall priorities for the Union, on 26-27 June 2014, the European Council adopted a Strategic Agenda to 'guide the institutions in annual and multiannual programming, as well as in legislative planning' in the 2014-19 institutional cycle.The European Parliament is strongly committed to the principle of Better Law-Making, and particularly to the effective use of impact assessment and evaluation throughout the legislative cycle. It is in this spirit that enhanced powers for stronger executive bodies can and should be balanced by greater scrutiny and oversight, especially in respect of the implementation of EU law and policies. The Parliament's administrative capacity to support parliamentary committees and individual Members in exercising ex-post scrutiny and oversight of the executive has accordingly been enhanced in order to provide stronger and deeper analysis of the transposition, implementation and enforcement of EU secondary law, and more generally, of the impact, operation, effectiveness and delivery of EU law and policy in practice. In this context, since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit has been monitoring and analysing the delivery on commitments made by the European Council in the conclusions of its meetings, as well as its various responsibilities either in law or on the basis of intergovernmental agreements. This compendium is designed to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in the months and years ahead.

The inclusion of financial services in EU free trade and association agreements: Effects on money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance

21-06-2016

This study examines the implementation and effects of the inclusion of financial services in existing EU free trade and association agreements (FTAs) and, in particular, their impact on money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance. The opening analysis outlines the geopolitical and trade context, as well as the EU policy framework to combat money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance. It examines the effects of the ‘Panama Papers’ leaks; assesses the consequences of tax evasion and money laundering ...

This study examines the implementation and effects of the inclusion of financial services in existing EU free trade and association agreements (FTAs) and, in particular, their impact on money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance. The opening analysis outlines the geopolitical and trade context, as well as the EU policy framework to combat money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance. It examines the effects of the ‘Panama Papers’ leaks; assesses the consequences of tax evasion and money laundering and their link to trade in Africa; evaluates the implementation of the EU-Central America Agreement; and provides a synthesis of the key findings and policy recommendations presented in the annexed study. The annexed expertise investigates the implementation and effects of financial services provisions in selected EU FTAs with third countries, with a particular focus on their propensity to curb money laundering, tax evasion and elusion. It concludes that the liberalisation of trade in goods and services with developing countries increases the threat of money laundering, and that it is therefore likely to contribute to an increase in illicit financial flows from developing countries to the EU. The study does not find conclusive statistical data to support a causal link between the EU FTAs that are in force and an increase in illicit financial flows. Nonetheless, the far-reaching commitments made by the EU and the developing countries in the selected EU FTAs regarding access to the markets for goods and services, including in the financial services sector, translate into such agreements significantly increasing trade openness, and hence also the threat of money laundering facing developing countries. To remedy these threats, the study provides a number of policy recommendations.

Cross-border recognition of adoptions

16-06-2016

The European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) presents a qualitative analysis of possible policy options and quantitative estimates on the possible additional value of taking legislative action on the EU level related to cross-border recognition of adoptions.The EAVA identifies economic and social costs, and notably the costs related to the incomplete protection of rights of mobile EU citizens, which are born as a result of the absence of regulation on automatic recognition of adoption decisions at ...

The European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) presents a qualitative analysis of possible policy options and quantitative estimates on the possible additional value of taking legislative action on the EU level related to cross-border recognition of adoptions.The EAVA identifies economic and social costs, and notably the costs related to the incomplete protection of rights of mobile EU citizens, which are born as a result of the absence of regulation on automatic recognition of adoption decisions at the EU level. The substantive scope of the EAVA is limited to the issues related to the recognition of adoptions in EU Member States. The substantive family law issues, as well as issues related to the recognition of convention adoptions, within the meaning of the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry adoptions, are not covered in this assessment. 

The EU’s Energy Diplomacy: Transatlantic and Foreign Policy Implications

16-06-2016

Energy security is increasingly occupying a top spot on the EU’s foreign policy agenda. The unconventional oil and gas revolution, OPEC’s supply response, increased global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trade, persistent concerns about the reliability of Russian gas supplies and the need to expand low carbon energies such as renewables to address climate change pose opportunities and challenges to European energy security. The EU has upgraded the issue with its flagship Energy Union communication and ...

Energy security is increasingly occupying a top spot on the EU’s foreign policy agenda. The unconventional oil and gas revolution, OPEC’s supply response, increased global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trade, persistent concerns about the reliability of Russian gas supplies and the need to expand low carbon energies such as renewables to address climate change pose opportunities and challenges to European energy security. The EU has upgraded the issue with its flagship Energy Union communication and its EU Energy Diplomacy Action Plan. The United States has developed into a major exporter of Natural Gas Liquids and refined petroleum products as a result of its unconventional oil and gas revolution. It might develop export capacities for LNG and continues to be a major coal exporter. The mutual energy trade could expand if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were concluded successfully. The United States is also a crucial partner of the EU for transport security and the protection of critical energy infrastructure. Against this backdrop, this study analyses opportunities and challenges of transatlantic energy cooperation in a changing global energy landscape.

External author

Eckart Woertz

Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty – Improving Functioning of the EU: Economic and Monetary Policy

16-06-2016

The Treaty chapter on Economic and Monetary Union became after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty one of the most disputed chapters of the Trea-ties. The economic and financial crisis revealed the shortcomings of the asym-metric EMU. The present study assesses the unused potential of the existing Treaty chapter in order to improve the functioning of the EU. In order to do so, the study suggests to switch the perspective on the Treaty potential from com¬pe¬ten¬ces to compliance. By identifying ...

The Treaty chapter on Economic and Monetary Union became after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty one of the most disputed chapters of the Trea-ties. The economic and financial crisis revealed the shortcomings of the asym-metric EMU. The present study assesses the unused potential of the existing Treaty chapter in order to improve the functioning of the EU. In order to do so, the study suggests to switch the perspective on the Treaty potential from com¬pe¬ten¬ces to compliance. By identifying the lack of mechanisms in the existing economic policy coordination framework aiming at addressing non-compliance because of a Member State’s incapacity to comply, the study suggests the introduction of an incentive-based enforcement mechanism (for the short term) and of a fiscal capacity (for the medium term) within the existing Treaties. Furthermore, the establishment of the Eurozone budget, of a Redemption Fund or the adoption of a convergence code is discussed. By the same token, the legal inclusion of the Fiscal Compact and the ESM-Treaty is examined and concrete proposals are developed. Finally, the study addresses ways of increasing the accountability and legitimacy in EMU affairs.

External author

René REPASI (European Research Centre for Economic and Financial Governance - EURO-CEFG, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

Cross-Border Mergers and Divisions, Transfers of Seat: Is there a Need to Legislate?

15-06-2016

The Study analyses whether and to what extent there is a need to legislate with respect to cross-border mergers, cross-border divisions and cross-border transfers of seat (cross-border conversions). Affirming a clear need for such legislation, it is recommended to extend the Cross-Border Mergers Directive into a single Cross-Border Mobility Directive encompassing revised rules on cross-border mergers as well as new rules on cross-border divisions and cross-border transfers of seat for all legal ...

The Study analyses whether and to what extent there is a need to legislate with respect to cross-border mergers, cross-border divisions and cross-border transfers of seat (cross-border conversions). Affirming a clear need for such legislation, it is recommended to extend the Cross-Border Mergers Directive into a single Cross-Border Mobility Directive encompassing revised rules on cross-border mergers as well as new rules on cross-border divisions and cross-border transfers of seat for all legal entities within the meaning of Art. 54 TFEU.