ThinkTank logo Les documents qui contribuent à déterminer la nouvelle législation de l'Union
Publié le 19-01-2017

Bioeconomy: Challenges and opportunities

19-01-2017

The bioeconomy refers to the production and extraction of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food and feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Although primarily based on activities carried out, in some form, for centuries or millennia (such as farming, fisheries or forestry), the bioeconomy emerged in the past decade as a knowledge-driven concept aimed at meeting a number of today's challenges. In the European Union (EU), the bioeconomy sectors have an annual turnover of about ...

The bioeconomy refers to the production and extraction of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food and feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Although primarily based on activities carried out, in some form, for centuries or millennia (such as farming, fisheries or forestry), the bioeconomy emerged in the past decade as a knowledge-driven concept aimed at meeting a number of today's challenges. In the European Union (EU), the bioeconomy sectors have an annual turnover of about €2 trillion and employ between 17 and 19 million people. They use almost three quarters of the EU land area. A stronger bioeconomy could trigger growth and jobs, and reduce dependency on imports. It could contribute to optimising the use of biological resources, which remain finite although they are renewable. However, it could also create competition between uses and technologies at various levels. Besides, the amount of available biomass remains disputed. A bioeconomy could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health. However, it could also trigger new greenhouse gas emissions and induce adverse impacts on the environment. The EU policy framework for the bioeconomy is spread across a number of policies (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, climate, circular economy and research). Although a bioeconomy strategy from 2012 aims to ensure policy coherence, inconsistencies remain. The EU provides funding to innovative bioeconomy activities through the framework programme for research (Horizon 2020) and a range of other instruments. The European Parliament has been supportive of the bioeconomy strategy, while highlighting the need for sustainability and policy coherence.

EU pledges further aid to Jordan

19-01-2017

Since 2011, Jordan's economy has suffered from the negative spill-overs of the on-going regional conflicts and the Syrian refugee crisis, weakening the country's fiscal and external financing position. In line with the EU's objective to support the stability and development of Jordan's economy, the European Commission has presented a proposal to grant the country a second package of macro-financial assistance (MFA). Amounting to a maximum of €200 million, the assistance would help the country cover ...

Since 2011, Jordan's economy has suffered from the negative spill-overs of the on-going regional conflicts and the Syrian refugee crisis, weakening the country's fiscal and external financing position. In line with the EU's objective to support the stability and development of Jordan's economy, the European Commission has presented a proposal to grant the country a second package of macro-financial assistance (MFA). Amounting to a maximum of €200 million, the assistance would help the country cover a part of its external financing needs. The first MFA package, worth €180 million, was approved in 2013 and fully disbursed in 2015. In addition to the significant resources mobilised by the multilateral and bilateral donors, this second MFA, adopted in December 2016, will, by strengthening the economy, contribute to Jordan's overall stability, which is a high priority for the EU. The Commission will, if appropriate, put forward a new proposal in 2017 to extend and increase this MFA to Jordan. EU aid will complement the International Monetary Fund's new programme of about US$723 million, focusing on the country’s economic and financial reform programme. 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 593.537, November 2016.

Digital skills in the EU labour market

19-01-2017

Digital technology is more and more interwoven into every field of public, private and working life. Consequently, digital skills have a growing importance for everybody. How can society and its citizens, in particular vulnerable groups, such as the disabled or the long-term unemployed, get onto the digital train and stay abreast of new technologies and methods? How can digital skills at the workplace be developed and used more efficiently? What has already been done at Member State and EU level ...

Digital technology is more and more interwoven into every field of public, private and working life. Consequently, digital skills have a growing importance for everybody. How can society and its citizens, in particular vulnerable groups, such as the disabled or the long-term unemployed, get onto the digital train and stay abreast of new technologies and methods? How can digital skills at the workplace be developed and used more efficiently? What has already been done at Member State and EU level and what are the challenges ahead? This publication seeks to answer these questions through by describing the characteristics and types of digital skills, and exploring their presence in society and on the labour market. It further analyses the digital literacy of workers, gives an overview of EU-level actions undertaken in this domain, and points to some best practices aimed at improving the current situation.

From Safe Harbour to Privacy Shield: Advances and shortcomings of the new EU-US data transfer rules

19-01-2017

The CJEU’s Schrems judgment of October 2015, besides declaring the European Commission’s Decision on the EU-US ‘Safe Harbour’ data transfer regime invalid, has also settled a number of crucial requirements corresponding to the foundations of EU data protection. In the assessment of the Privacy Shield, the new framework for EU-US data transfer, these need to be taken into account. In less than one year since the CJEU ruling, the Commission has adopted a new adequacy decision, in which the Privacy ...

The CJEU’s Schrems judgment of October 2015, besides declaring the European Commission’s Decision on the EU-US ‘Safe Harbour’ data transfer regime invalid, has also settled a number of crucial requirements corresponding to the foundations of EU data protection. In the assessment of the Privacy Shield, the new framework for EU-US data transfer, these need to be taken into account. In less than one year since the CJEU ruling, the Commission has adopted a new adequacy decision, in which the Privacy Shield regime is deemed to adequately protect EU citizens. The main improvements of the Privacy Shield (over its predecessor), as well as the critical reactions to the new arrangements, are discussed in this analysis, taking into account, however, that an annual review is expected to take place by summer 2017, which will also take into account the coming into effect of the EU General Data Protection Regulation in 2018.

Gender Equal Access to Goods and Services Directive 2004/113/EC

19-01-2017

Directive 2004/113/EC is part of EU anti-discrimination law and sets a frame of minimum rules for ensuring gender equality in the access to and supply of goods and services. The present assessment critically describes the genesis and implementation of this Directive across EU Member States, in particular after the European Court of Justice ‘Test-Achats’ case of March 2011, which enforced gender equality in the insurance sector. The notion of ‘indirect discrimination’ requires increased awareness ...

Directive 2004/113/EC is part of EU anti-discrimination law and sets a frame of minimum rules for ensuring gender equality in the access to and supply of goods and services. The present assessment critically describes the genesis and implementation of this Directive across EU Member States, in particular after the European Court of Justice ‘Test-Achats’ case of March 2011, which enforced gender equality in the insurance sector. The notion of ‘indirect discrimination’ requires increased awareness of multiple factual and legal cause-effect relationships. This appears to be of particular importance in the health sector, where insufficient consideration of female conditions could result in severe adverse consequences. Indirect discrimination in access to goods and services cannot be curbed by applying this Directive alone, but by pursuing equality in all policy areas and notably by consequent application of all other anti-discrimination instruments. Furthermore, the assessment explores the need to adapt the implementation of the Directive to new areas, such as the rapidly developing collaborative economy. The assessment recommends strengthening equality bodies in the Member States and raising awareness of the rights stemming from this and related directives. It also suggests that the Commission entrust the European Equality Law Network with the provision of a thorough and comprehensive update of its 2009 report on the implementation of Directive 2004/113/EC, which could take into account the questionnaire elaborated in the final annex of this European implementation assessment.

Proceedings of the Workshop on "Relations between Franchisors and Franchisees: Regulatory Framework and Current Challenges"

15-11-2016

The workshop organised by the Policy Department A for the IMCO Committee aimed at discussing problems in the area of franchising and the impact of the EU rules on functioning of the franchising contract. It allowed exchange of views on market conditions in the EU as well as corrective legislative and regulatory actions.

The workshop organised by the Policy Department A for the IMCO Committee aimed at discussing problems in the area of franchising and the impact of the EU rules on functioning of the franchising contract. It allowed exchange of views on market conditions in the EU as well as corrective legislative and regulatory actions.

Auteur externe

Magda SCHUSTEROVÁ and Aneta WIEWIÓROWSKA-DOMAGALSKA (Osnabrück University, Germany)

Publié le 18-01-2017

New rules for managing the EU external fishing fleet

18-01-2017

In February 2017, the Parliament is due to vote in plenary on a Commission proposal for a revised system of issuing and managing fishing authorisations, intended to improve monitoring and transparency of the EU external fishing fleet. The proposal, replacing the current 'Fishing Authorisations Regulation' 1006/2008, applies to all EU vessels fishing outside EU waters, and to third-country vessels fishing in EU waters. The current scope of the authorisation system would be extended to include practices ...

In February 2017, the Parliament is due to vote in plenary on a Commission proposal for a revised system of issuing and managing fishing authorisations, intended to improve monitoring and transparency of the EU external fishing fleet. The proposal, replacing the current 'Fishing Authorisations Regulation' 1006/2008, applies to all EU vessels fishing outside EU waters, and to 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. 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 589.834, October 2016.

Mercury: Aligning EU legislation with Minamata

18-01-2017

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides for the storage of mercury waste, restricts the use of mercury in various products and seeks to address pollution ...

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides for the storage of mercury waste, restricts the use of mercury in various products and seeks to address pollution caused by it. However, there are some regulatory gaps between EU legislation and the Minamata Convention. The European Commission has recently submitted a legislative proposal aiming to align this legislation with the Convention in view of its ratification. On 14 December 2016, Commission, Council and Parliament reached agreement in interinstitutional trilogue negotiations. The agreement, endorsed by Coreper on 16 December 2016 and by the ENVI Committee on 12 January 2017, is expected to be submitted for a first-reading vote in the March II plenary. This updates an earlier edition, of 25 October 2016: PE 593.488.

Prison Conditions in the Member States: Selected European Standards and Best Practices

17-01-2017

This paper provides an overview of European standards and good practices regarding prison conditions. Action by the EU in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters is affected by detention conditions across EU Member States. The Council of Europe has adopted numerous recommendations and standards on conditions of life in prison, and the European Court of Human Rights has found that detention conditions may breach the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment. The paper provides an ...

This paper provides an overview of European standards and good practices regarding prison conditions. Action by the EU in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters is affected by detention conditions across EU Member States. The Council of Europe has adopted numerous recommendations and standards on conditions of life in prison, and the European Court of Human Rights has found that detention conditions may breach the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment. The paper provides an overview of common problems affecting prisons in the EU Member States (from overcrowding to general conditions of life in prison) and describes some of the identified best practices to solve them. Specific attention is paid to pre-trial detention, to the use of alternative (non-custodial) measures, to measures aimed at social reintegration and prevention of recidivism, and to the special safeguards and standards developed as regards vulnerable prisoners (such as children, women, or mentally ill detainees).

Application of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive: Overview of the Commission's May 2016 guidance document

18-01-2017

Consumers may find it difficult to identify potentially harmful or unfair practices when entering into a transactional relationship with traders. Similarly, businesses and enforcement authorities may sometimes have problems applying and interpreting EU legislation in relation to commercial practices. While it is the Court of Justice that has competence to interpret EU legislation, the European Commission published legally non-binding guidance on the implementation/application of the Directive on ...

Consumers may find it difficult to identify potentially harmful or unfair practices when entering into a transactional relationship with traders. Similarly, businesses and enforcement authorities may sometimes have problems applying and interpreting EU legislation in relation to commercial practices. While it is the Court of Justice that has competence to interpret EU legislation, the European Commission published legally non-binding guidance on the implementation/application of the Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices in May 2016, which aims to clarify some of the issues that have arisen since the adoption of the directive.

Evénements à venir

24-01-2017
"The role of lawyers, accountants and bankers in Panama Papers" - Part I
Audition -
PANA
24-01-2017
Workshop on Building blocks of a future EU cohesion policy - first reflections
Atelier -
REGI
24-01-2017
Workshop : Human Rights in Iran after the nuclear deal
Audition -
DROI

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