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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against tax fraud

28-06-2019

Tax policy, and the fight against tax fraud, have gained particular exposure over the past five years as a result of the light shed by repeated tax leaks and the related journalistic investigations. This has added to the increasing lack of acceptance of damaging tax practices, especially since the recession and the resulting budget constraints. The fight against tax fraud aims at recovering revenue not paid to the public authorities. It also aims at ensuring that fraudsters do not have an advantage ...

Tax policy, and the fight against tax fraud, have gained particular exposure over the past five years as a result of the light shed by repeated tax leaks and the related journalistic investigations. This has added to the increasing lack of acceptance of damaging tax practices, especially since the recession and the resulting budget constraints. The fight against tax fraud aims at recovering revenue not paid to the public authorities. It also aims at ensuring that fraudsters do not have an advantage over compliant taxpayers, thus ensuring tax fairness between taxpayers. Unpaid taxes result in reduced resources for national and European Union (EU) budgets. Though the scale of unpaid taxes is by nature difficult to estimate, available assessments hint at large amounts of resources lost to public finances. Citizens' evaluation of the EU's current involvement in the fight against tax fraud has improved, but the majority of citizens in each Member State still share expectations for even more intensive involvement. Despite this, there is still a considerable gap between citizens' evaluations and expectations of EU involvement. There is still room for improvement in addressing the preferences and expectations of EU citizens. The fight against tax fraud is shared between Member States and the EU. Coming under tax policy, it has remained closely linked to Member State sovereignty, protected by the requirement for unanimity and a special legislative procedure which keeps tax matters firmly under the Council's control. This has been the case since the Union's beginnings, in spite of the proposed limited changes to the tax framework. As shortcomings have been more clearly identified, the discussion has been opened anew in speeches on the State of the Union delivered by the President of the European Commission before the European Parliament. Fighting tax fraud covers not only actions against illegal behaviour, but also the deterrence of fraud and measures to foster compliance. As a result it involves a large reboot of tax provisions, to upgrade them for the scale and features of tax fraud as it is and as it evolves. In spite of the notable deliveries during the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, there remains work ahead, namely because all provisions need to be implemented, enforced, monitored and, if need be, updated, to keep up with the versatility of tax fraud and the pace of digital evolution globally. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Security and defence

28-06-2019

Security and defence policy in the European Union is predominantly a competence of the Member States. At the same time, a common security and defence policy, which could progressively lead to a European defence union, is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Since 2016, there has been significant progress in that direction, with several initiatives in the area of security and defence having been proposed and initiated under the 2014-2019 mandate of the Commission and the European Parliament. The idea that ...

Security and defence policy in the European Union is predominantly a competence of the Member States. At the same time, a common security and defence policy, which could progressively lead to a European defence union, is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Since 2016, there has been significant progress in that direction, with several initiatives in the area of security and defence having been proposed and initiated under the 2014-2019 mandate of the Commission and the European Parliament. The idea that the European Union should deliver in the area of security and defence has become more and more popular with EU citizens. The crises in the EU's eastern and southern neighbourhoods, such as the occupation of Crimea and conflicts in the Middle East, have created an environment of insecurity in which the EU is called upon to do more. Following the Council decision of 2013 and particularly since the launch of the EU global strategy in 2016, the EU has been working to respond to these needs predominantly by implementing in full the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. In recent years, it has begun the implementation of ambitious initiatives in the area of security and defence, such as permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), the European defence action plan, including a new defence fund to finance research and development of EU military capabilities, closer and more efficient cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a plan to facilitate military mobility within and across the EU, and revision of the financing of its civilian and military missions and operations to make them more effective. These new initiatives are illustrated in the relevant proposals for the new multiannual financial framework (2021-2027) and the accompanying off-budget instruments. Given EU leaders' support in the recent past for further initiatives in EU security and defence policy, important debates are likely to take place in future on the possible progressive framing of a European defence union. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Future financing of EU policies

28-06-2019

The principle of subsidiarity means that the European Union (EU) should act where it can do so more effectively than its constituent Member States individually, and this also holds true in the area of public finance – the EU's budget together with off-budget tools for financing EU policies. At €165.8 billion in 2019 – or approximately 1 % of Member States' collective gross national income (GNI) – the EU budget is a great deal smaller in relative terms than EU national governments' budgets. It serves ...

The principle of subsidiarity means that the European Union (EU) should act where it can do so more effectively than its constituent Member States individually, and this also holds true in the area of public finance – the EU's budget together with off-budget tools for financing EU policies. At €165.8 billion in 2019 – or approximately 1 % of Member States' collective gross national income (GNI) – the EU budget is a great deal smaller in relative terms than EU national governments' budgets. It serves mainly as a vehicle for investment, particularly in the areas of rural and regional development, industrial research and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and political and economic development in neighbouring countries. These policies are designed to yield European public goods, with benefits that go beyond the national borders of individual EU countries. The Commission calculates that they do so for less than the cost of one cup of coffee a day per citizen. During the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, the EU was buffeted by challenges to its capacity to act, including financially, by geopolitical instability in the wider region, the migration and refugee crisis, and unresolved questions about the future of the euro, linked to the legacy of the economic, financial and sovereign debt crises. However, the EU also saw several notable achievements. These include the update to the financial rules governing the use of EU funds, simplifying the rules and strengthening the focus on performance and results; the creation of a European Public Prosecutor's Office to help address the roughly 0.35 % of the EU budget at risk of fraud; a mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework (MFF), enhancing its flexibility to provide for a more responsive EU; the development of proposals for new sources of revenue in time for negotiations on the post-2020 MFF; and policy innovation in the field of financial engineering, helping EU finance go further by leveraging private investment. The 2019 elections mark a turning point in the future financing of EU policies, since the new Parliament will be responsible for concluding negotiations on the next multiannual spending plan. The Commission has proposed a 2021-2027 MFF totalling 1.11 % of the post-Brexit EU-27's GNI, and new sources of EU revenue to reduce the burden on national treasuries and forge a clearer link between revenue and policies. It also proposes to consolidate progress made in the last term with regard to budgetary flexibility, financial integrity and the rule of law, and in encouraging private investment in Europe. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued prior to the 2019 European elections.

Digitalisation in railway transport: A lever to improve rail competitiveness

20-02-2019

Since the 1990s, digitalisation has been advancing at speed across all industrial sectors, public entities and society at large; and railways are no exception. Digital technologies already govern rail customers' expectations, ticket reservation and purchasing habits, operators' information and payments systems, but experts believe these technologies have much more to offer the sector. Digitalisation is key to industry competitiveness and has therefore become an EU priority. The EU has been forging ...

Since the 1990s, digitalisation has been advancing at speed across all industrial sectors, public entities and society at large; and railways are no exception. Digital technologies already govern rail customers' expectations, ticket reservation and purchasing habits, operators' information and payments systems, but experts believe these technologies have much more to offer the sector. Digitalisation is key to industry competitiveness and has therefore become an EU priority. The EU has been forging a cross-policy approach and programmes to ensure a solid policy framework, finance research and infrastructure, develop standards and connectivity, and use data effectively. This should enable rail actors to capture digitalisation's potential, improve their efficiency and serve their customers better. The European Parliament has been contributing to this policy. Rail companies have already implemented a vast array of new services and applications using digital technologies, be it for providing more information and leisure services on board, improving the monitoring of their assets or automating more operations. The changes introduced by digitalisation in rail transport are perceived by many stakeholders as an opportunity – owing to the benefits it can offer – but also as a challenge. Indeed, it will require a change of mindsets and business models. Rail digitalisation will also require financial investment and a strategy to tackle cyber threats. Addressing these challenges will allow digitalisation to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the railway sector.

Access to legal remedies for victims of corporate human rights abuses in third countries

01-02-2019

European-based multinational corporations can cause or be complicit in human rights abuses in third countries. Victims of corporate human rights abuses frequently face many hurdles when attempting to hold corporations to account in their own country. Against this backdrop, judicial mechanisms have increasingly been relied on to bring legal proceedings in the home States of the corporations. This study attempts to map out all relevant cases (35 in total) filed in Member States of the European Union ...

European-based multinational corporations can cause or be complicit in human rights abuses in third countries. Victims of corporate human rights abuses frequently face many hurdles when attempting to hold corporations to account in their own country. Against this backdrop, judicial mechanisms have increasingly been relied on to bring legal proceedings in the home States of the corporations. This study attempts to map out all relevant cases (35 in total) filed in Member States of the European Union on the basis of alleged corporate human rights abuses in third countries. It also provides an in-depth analysis of 12 cases and identifies various obstacles (legal, procedural and practical) faced by claimants in accessing legal remedy. On the basis of these findings, it makes a number of recommendations to the EU institutions in order to improve access to legal remedies in the EU for victims of human rights abuses by European based companies in third countries.

Ārējais autors

Dr. Axel Marx, Dr. Claire Bright, Prof. Dr. Jan Wouters, Ms. Nina Pineau, Mr. Brecht Lein, Mr. Torbjörn Schiebe, Ms. Johanna Wagner, Ms. Evelien Wauter

Understanding public responses to low carbon technologies

30-01-2019

This report reviews different models and frameworks that explain public responses to low carbon technologies (LCTs). Based on insights from literature, it highlights the need for a multidimensional perspective to understand the complexities surrounding public acceptance or opposition to LCTs. It also proposes two key solutions for how public responses can be better accommodated in a way that engenders support from the public: by integrating social and values-based aspects in planning, and by ensuring ...

This report reviews different models and frameworks that explain public responses to low carbon technologies (LCTs). Based on insights from literature, it highlights the need for a multidimensional perspective to understand the complexities surrounding public acceptance or opposition to LCTs. It also proposes two key solutions for how public responses can be better accommodated in a way that engenders support from the public: by integrating social and values-based aspects in planning, and by ensuring procedural justice in technology deployment. Reflecting on these, policy options are drawn for how these solutions might help contribute to delivering better approaches in engaging the public in the low carbon transition.

Ārējais autors

DG, EPRS

Gender mainstreaming in the EU: State of play

10-01-2019

When the European Union endorsed 'gender mainstreaming' as its official policy approach to gender equality, it was seen as a potentially revolutionary means of accelerating progress and achieving real equality between the sexes. Two decades on, concerns remain about fragmented implementation across policy areas and institutions at EU and national levels. The European Parliament regularly assesses its own progress in this area, and a FEMM committee report on gender mainstreaming in Parliament is scheduled ...

When the European Union endorsed 'gender mainstreaming' as its official policy approach to gender equality, it was seen as a potentially revolutionary means of accelerating progress and achieving real equality between the sexes. Two decades on, concerns remain about fragmented implementation across policy areas and institutions at EU and national levels. The European Parliament regularly assesses its own progress in this area, and a FEMM committee report on gender mainstreaming in Parliament is scheduled for debate in plenary during January.

The productivity riddle: Supporting long-term economic growth in the EU

03-12-2018

Productivity has a key role to play in the EU's long-term economic growth. The recent economic recovery has reversed the negative trend but concerns remain about long-term prospects. Productivity varies across the EU, with newer Member States reaching only about half the level of the older ones (EU-15) when measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per hour worked, but showing a higher growth dynamic. The recent poor productivity growth in the EU raises a number of important policy questions ...

Productivity has a key role to play in the EU's long-term economic growth. The recent economic recovery has reversed the negative trend but concerns remain about long-term prospects. Productivity varies across the EU, with newer Member States reaching only about half the level of the older ones (EU-15) when measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per hour worked, but showing a higher growth dynamic. The recent poor productivity growth in the EU raises a number of important policy questions. First, there is no consensus on the reasons behind it or the best ways to remedy it. There are also conflicting views regarding how long this situation will continue. Most economists believe the current weak growth trend may be explained by a combination of cyclical and structural economic weaknesses that need to be addressed by a mix of shorter and longer-term measures. Remedies for low productivity include increasing labour market participation, strengthening product market competition, encouraging demand, investment and lending to companies, as well as restructuring inefficient markets, disseminating technology and generalising digitalisation. In the EU context, particularly important factors conducive to productivity growth include creating a genuine single market for services, boosting digitalisation across economic sectors and addressing long-term challenges, such as the ageing society and rising income inequalities, as well as implementing long-awaited structural reforms in the Member States.

Brexit and ICT Policy - Workshop Proceedings

16-08-2018

This report summarises the presentations given and subsequent discussion at the “Brexit and ICT Policy” workshop which was held on 19 June 2018. A range of views on the potential impact of Brexit on research, innovation, and regulation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) within the EU27 was presented, taking into account the different forms of Brexit that are possible. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy ...

This report summarises the presentations given and subsequent discussion at the “Brexit and ICT Policy” workshop which was held on 19 June 2018. A range of views on the potential impact of Brexit on research, innovation, and regulation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) within the EU27 was presented, taking into account the different forms of Brexit that are possible. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

Ārējais autors

J Scott MARCUS, Bruegel, Alexander ROTH, Bruegel and Gaurav SANDHAR, Bruegel

Research for TRAN Committee - Charging infrastructure for electric road vehicles

20-06-2018

This study analyses the various challenges of the deployment of charging infrastructure within the EU. This includes existing technologies and standardisation issues, metering systems and pricing schemes, business and financing models, the impact of the charging infrastructure on the dissemination of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs), and the appropriateness of current technologies, business models, and public policies.

This study analyses the various challenges of the deployment of charging infrastructure within the EU. This includes existing technologies and standardisation issues, metering systems and pricing schemes, business and financing models, the impact of the charging infrastructure on the dissemination of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs), and the appropriateness of current technologies, business models, and public policies.

Ārējais autors

Matthias Spöttle, Korinna Jörling, Matthias Schimmel, Maarten Staats, Logan Grizzel, Lisa Jerram, William Drier, John Gartner

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