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Economic impacts of artificial intelligence (AI)

01-07-2019

Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in our lives and economy and is already having an impact on our world in many different ways. Worldwide competition to reap its benefits is fierce, and global leaders – the US and Asia – have emerged on the scene. AI is seen by many as an engine of productivity and economic growth. It can increase the efficiency with which things are done and vastly improve the decision-making process by analysing large amounts of data. It can also spawn ...

Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in our lives and economy and is already having an impact on our world in many different ways. Worldwide competition to reap its benefits is fierce, and global leaders – the US and Asia – have emerged on the scene. AI is seen by many as an engine of productivity and economic growth. It can increase the efficiency with which things are done and vastly improve the decision-making process by analysing large amounts of data. It can also spawn the creation of new products and services, markets and industries, thereby boosting consumer demand and generating new revenue streams. However, AI may also have a highly disruptive effect on the economy and society. Some warn that it could lead to the creation of super firms – hubs of wealth and knowledge – that could have detrimental effects on the wider economy. It may also widen the gap between developed and developing countries, and boost the need for workers with certain skills while rendering others redundant; this latter trend could have far-reaching consequences for the labour market. Experts also warn of its potential to increase inequality, push down wages and shrink the tax base. While these concerns remain valid, there is no consensus on whether and to what extent the related risks will materialise. They are not a given, and carefully designed policy would be able to foster the development of AI while keeping the negative effects in check. The EU has a potential to improve its standing in global competition and direct AI onto a path that benefits its economy and citizens. In order to achieve this, it first needs to agree a common strategy that would utilise its strengths and enable the pooling of Member States' resources in the most effective way.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Industrial policy

28-06-2019

Through its industrial policy, the European Union (EU) has been striving to create conditions conducive to increasing industry growth and competitiveness since 1992. European industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, providing one job out of five, and is responsible for the bulk of EU exports and investment in research and innovation. Today, the aim of EU policy is to enable a successful transition towards digital, knowledge-based, decarbonised and more circular industry in Europe. To achieve ...

Through its industrial policy, the European Union (EU) has been striving to create conditions conducive to increasing industry growth and competitiveness since 1992. European industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, providing one job out of five, and is responsible for the bulk of EU exports and investment in research and innovation. Today, the aim of EU policy is to enable a successful transition towards digital, knowledge-based, decarbonised and more circular industry in Europe. To achieve this goal, the EU supports, coordinates and supplements Member State-level policies and actions, mainly in the areas of research and innovation, SMEs and digital technologies. In a Eurobarometer poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than half of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on industrial policy. Despite this, it is still the least understood policy area covered by the poll. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including investment (mainly through the European Fund for Strategic Investment, which supports industrial modernisation); digitalisation (for example setting up a number of research partnerships, or a growing network of digital innovation hubs); financing (making it easier for industry and SMEs to access public markets and attract venture funds); greener industry (for example through the revised 2030 emission targets, or measures on clean mobility); standardisation (bringing together relevant stakeholders to collectively develop and update European standards); and skills (mobilising key stakeholders to close the skills gap and providing an adequate workforce for modern industry). The European Parliament has called for ambitious policies in many of these areas. In the future, EU spending on key areas relevant to industrial policy is expected to rise moderately. The European Commission is proposing to boost the share of EU spending on research, SMEs and key infrastructure, although not as much as Parliament has requested. In the coming years, policies are likely to focus on seeking fairer global competition, stimulating innovation, building digital capacities and increasing the sustainability of European industry. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Mutual recognition of goods

25-04-2019

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product ...

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product rules at the EU level or, where there are no harmonised rules, the principle of mutual recognition under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. The proposal addressed a number of shortcomings in the application of the mutual recognition principle. A provisional agreement between the co-legislators was reached on 22 November 2018. The text was adopted in plenary in February 2019. The new rules will improve collaboration among national authoritites and enhance the role of national product contact points. They will introduce a faster problem-solving procedure for disputes between companies and national authorities, as well as a new voluntary declaration to be filled in by economic operators to prove lawful marketing in an EU Member State. The new rules will apply from 19 April 2020. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

How the EU budget is spent: Euratom research and training programme

03-04-2019

The Euratom research and training programme is an important tool that implements the European Union's nuclear policy. Its main aim is to enhance the role of the European Union as a global leader in nuclear research, while efficiently managing its nuclear market.

The Euratom research and training programme is an important tool that implements the European Union's nuclear policy. Its main aim is to enhance the role of the European Union as a global leader in nuclear research, while efficiently managing its nuclear market.

Pan-European personal pension product (PEPP)

02-04-2019

An aging population increases pressure on pension systems, and traditional pay-as-you-go pensions are likely to be less generous in the future. To increase the options for those saving for retirement, and stimulate competition on the market, the European Commission proposed a new EU framework for a voluntary personal pension product (PEPP), which would be complementary to other personal pensions and national regimes. Trilogue negotiations concluded with a compromise approved by the ECON committee ...

An aging population increases pressure on pension systems, and traditional pay-as-you-go pensions are likely to be less generous in the future. To increase the options for those saving for retirement, and stimulate competition on the market, the European Commission proposed a new EU framework for a voluntary personal pension product (PEPP), which would be complementary to other personal pensions and national regimes. Trilogue negotiations concluded with a compromise approved by the ECON committee and by the Council. The European Parliament is due to vote on the PEPP file during the April I plenary session.

Digital Europe programme: Funding digital transformation beyond 2020

11-02-2019

In the framework of the next long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing a new, €9.2 billion programme to build up digital capacity and infrastructure and support a digital single market. It will operate mainly through coordinated and strategic co-investments with the Member States in the areas of advanced computing and data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, their uptake and optimal use in the private and public sectors and boosting advanced digital skills. The programme ...

In the framework of the next long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing a new, €9.2 billion programme to build up digital capacity and infrastructure and support a digital single market. It will operate mainly through coordinated and strategic co-investments with the Member States in the areas of advanced computing and data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, their uptake and optimal use in the private and public sectors and boosting advanced digital skills. The programme aims to help European societies and businesses to make the most of the ongoing digital transformation. The Commission sees the potential for efficiency gains in exploring complementarities and synergies with other planned programmes such as Horizon Europe, the Connecting Europe Facility and the European Regional Development and Cohesion Funds. The European Parliament adopted amendments on 13 December 2018 and referred the file back to the ITRE committee for interinstitutional negotiations. The Council reached a partial general approach, which excludes budgetary and horizontal issues, in December 2018. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Mutual recognition of goods

06-02-2019

One of the main rules enabling the frictionless trade in goods in the EU, in the absence of specific EU rules, is the principle of mutual recognition, under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. To address a number of shortcomings in the application of this principle, the Commission proposed to revise the current rules, which date back to 2008. In November 2018, the European Parliament and Council reached agreement in trilogue negotiations on the proposal ...

One of the main rules enabling the frictionless trade in goods in the EU, in the absence of specific EU rules, is the principle of mutual recognition, under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. To address a number of shortcomings in the application of this principle, the Commission proposed to revise the current rules, which date back to 2008. In November 2018, the European Parliament and Council reached agreement in trilogue negotiations on the proposal, which is now scheduled to be voted by Parliament at first reading during the February plenary session.

Economic and Budgetary Outlook for the European Union 2019

30-01-2019

This EPRS study, the third in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the Union and euro area, and their two-year trends. The figures show that growth was moderate in 2018, at 2.1 %, although this is expected to deteriorate slightly in the coming months, given the poorer global outlook than a year ago. That said, unemployment is at a post-crisis low, and is expected to improve further, given ...

This EPRS study, the third in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the Union and euro area, and their two-year trends. The figures show that growth was moderate in 2018, at 2.1 %, although this is expected to deteriorate slightly in the coming months, given the poorer global outlook than a year ago. That said, unemployment is at a post-crisis low, and is expected to improve further, given positive labour market conditions. The study explains the annual EU budget, providing an overview of its headings for 2019, with the total amounting to €165.8 billion (or around 1 % of EU gross national income). The budget focuses on priorities that include stimulating investment, growth and research, the creation of new jobs – especially for young people – and addressing migration and security challenges. The wider budgetary framework – the multiannual financial framework (MFF) – is also analysed in the study, with key decisions on spending for the 2021-2027 period due to be taken during 2019. In this year's edition, the special 'economic focus' offers a bird's eye view of SMEs and SME policy in Europe, and of various recent EU-level initiatives in this field. The EU budget devotes particular attention to SMEs, given their central role in the European economy and in job creation. The EU needs to continue devoting efforts to improving European SMEs' access to finance, since despite recent improvements, they are still too heavily reliant on debt financing which puts them at risk in a downturn.

The new European electronic communications code

16-01-2019

European telecom rules were last updated in 2009. To make them fit for the digital era the Commission proposed a new Electronic Communications Code in September 2016. The provisional agreement reached in June 2018 was adopted by the Parliament and then by the Council in November 2018. Member States have until 21 December 2020 to transpose the new directive into national legislation. The new rules include measures to stimulate investment in and take-up of very high capacity networks in the EU as well ...

European telecom rules were last updated in 2009. To make them fit for the digital era the Commission proposed a new Electronic Communications Code in September 2016. The provisional agreement reached in June 2018 was adopted by the Parliament and then by the Council in November 2018. Member States have until 21 December 2020 to transpose the new directive into national legislation. The new rules include measures to stimulate investment in and take-up of very high capacity networks in the EU as well as new spectrum rules for mobile connectivity and 5G. The Code also ensures that all citizens have access to affordable communication, including the internet. It increases consumer protection and security for users and facilitates regulatory intervention. Furthermore, it introduces a 'reverse 112 system' which would alert citizens by text message in case of imminent serious emergencies or disasters (from June 2022). During negotiations the Parliament secured for citizens cheaper caps for intra-EU calls and SMS from 15 May 2019. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Corporate taxation of a significant digital presence

07-12-2018

Despite achieving unprecedented growth and profit rates, the digital economy seems to be relatively undertaxed when compared to more traditional 'bricks and mortar' companies. The current rules are based on the physical presence of taxpayers and assets, and there is a general understanding that they are not suited to taxing a digital economy characterised by reliance on intangible assets and ubiquitous services whose location is often hard to determine. International bodies are currently working ...

Despite achieving unprecedented growth and profit rates, the digital economy seems to be relatively undertaxed when compared to more traditional 'bricks and mortar' companies. The current rules are based on the physical presence of taxpayers and assets, and there is a general understanding that they are not suited to taxing a digital economy characterised by reliance on intangible assets and ubiquitous services whose location is often hard to determine. International bodies are currently working on how to adapt tax rules to the digital reality. The European Commission adopted a proposal in March 2018. It would allow taxation on the basis of digital rather than physical presence linked with the EU, for digital activities generating turnover of over €7 million, and with more than 100 000 users or 3 000 business-to-business contracts annually. The proposal has met with mixed reactions from stakeholders. Although there is growing recognition that digital companies should pay similar tax rates to traditional companies, some consider the initiative to be premature given the ongoing search for a compromise at the level of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is thought of as the permanent solution. The report by Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) proposes to widen the scope and reach of the tax, and increase clarity for tax authorities and companies. The plenary vote on the report is expected during the December session. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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