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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.

Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter

17-06-2019

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding ...

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market. After completion of the legislative procedure, the final act was signed by the presidents of the co-legislators (European Parliament and Council) on 5 June 2019, and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 12 June 2019. Member States have two years (i.e. until 3 July 2021) to transpose the new directive into national law. Fourth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Didier Bourguignon. document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Copyright in the digital single market

14-06-2019

The European Commission presented a legislative package for the modernisation of the EU copyright rules, including a new directive on copyright in the digital single market, on 14 September 2016. Stakeholders and academics were strongly divided on the proposal. In February 2019, after more than two years of protracted negotiations, the co-legislators agreed on a new set of copyright rules, including two controversial provisions: 1) the creation of a new right that will allow press publishers to claim ...

The European Commission presented a legislative package for the modernisation of the EU copyright rules, including a new directive on copyright in the digital single market, on 14 September 2016. Stakeholders and academics were strongly divided on the proposal. In February 2019, after more than two years of protracted negotiations, the co-legislators agreed on a new set of copyright rules, including two controversial provisions: 1) the creation of a new right that will allow press publishers to claim remuneration for the online use of their publications (Article 15), and 2) the imposition of content monitoring measures on online platforms such as YouTube, which seeks to resolve the 'value gap' and help rights-holders to better monetise and control the distribution of their content online (Article 17). Furthermore, in addition to the mandatory exception for text and data mining for research purposes proposed by the Commission in its proposal, the co legislators agreed to enshrine in EU law another mandatory exception for general text and data mining (Article 4) in order to contribute to the development of data analytics and artificial intelligence. The European Parliament (in plenary) and the Council approved the compromise text in March 2019 and in April 2019 respectively. The directive was published on 15 May 2019 in the Official Journal of the European Union, and all Member States must transpose the new rules into their national law by June 2021. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2021-2027

22-05-2019

The European Commission has proposed a new regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) as part of the next EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period. The European Parliament established its first-reading position on the proposal on 4 April 2019. The new fund will continue to support the EU common fisheries policy and the Union's maritime policy. The proposal aims to simplify the delivery of the fund compared to the very complex legal framework in use for the current EMFF. It ...

The European Commission has proposed a new regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) as part of the next EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period. The European Parliament established its first-reading position on the proposal on 4 April 2019. The new fund will continue to support the EU common fisheries policy and the Union's maritime policy. The proposal aims to simplify the delivery of the fund compared to the very complex legal framework in use for the current EMFF. It therefore presents a more flexible architecture: this would allow Member States to use the funds where they see the greatest need, instead of being bound to a list of pre-defined measures and eligibility rules. Small-scale coastal fisheries and outermost regions would receive greater preferential treatment. It further proposes increased support for international ocean governance and stronger synergies with other EU policies. The fund is also expected to contribute to the development of the blue economy and support the EU's climate objectives. Negotiations with the Council on the proposal are expected to start in the new term. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Horizon Europe: Framework programme for research and innovation 2021–2027

15-05-2019

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe would introduce new features such as the ...

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe would introduce new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. Horizon Europe also aims at reducing administrative burdens and promoting the concept of open science. More operational synergies are expected through better linkage with other EU programmes, such as cohesion policy (e.g. the European Social Fund), the new Digital Europe programme, and the new European Defence Fund. In March 2019, after several trilogue meetings, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement. This agreement covers the content, but not, among other things, the budgetary issues, which will be discussed following the negotiations on the EU’s 2021-2027 long-term budget. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Horizon Europe – Specific programme: Implementing the framework programme

15-05-2019

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe would introduce new features such as the ...

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe would introduce new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. While the proposal for the framework programme sets out the general and specific objective of Horizon Europe as well as the structure and the broad lines of the activities to be carried out, the specific programme aims to define the operational objectives and activities, especially for missions, the European Research Council, the European Innovation Council, work programmes, and the committee procedure. In April 2019, after several trilogue meetings, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement, covering the specific programme’s content. It does not however address budgetary issues, pending negotiations on the EU’s overall 2021-2027 long-term budget. Parliament thus adopted its first-reading position on 17 April 2019, and it is expected that further trilogue negotiations will take place in the new term.

Revision of the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) Directive

25-04-2019

On 31 May 2017, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union. It was presented within the context of the Commission's first 'Europe on the Move' package that seeks to modernise mobility and transport. Tying in with the 2015 energy union strategy and the Commission's 2016 European strategy for low emission mobility, and announced in the 2017 ...

On 31 May 2017, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union. It was presented within the context of the Commission's first 'Europe on the Move' package that seeks to modernise mobility and transport. Tying in with the 2015 energy union strategy and the Commission's 2016 European strategy for low emission mobility, and announced in the 2017 Commission work programme, the revision of the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) was presented together with the revision of the directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (the Eurovignette Directive). Interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations concluded on 20 November 2018. The agreed text was formally adopted by Parliament on 14 February 2019 and by Council on 4 March 2019. The final act was then published in the Official Journal on 29 March 2019. Member States now have until 19 October 2021 to apply the directive’s measures in their national laws.

Access to the international market for coach and bus services

16-04-2019

The European Union aims to ensure that road transport rules are applied effectively and without discrimination. The current rules governing the access to the international market for coach and bus services appear to have been only partly effective in promoting this mode of transport. There are still differences in rules on access to national markets, differences in openness of national markets, diverse national access arrangements and discrimination in access to terminals in some EU countries. In ...

The European Union aims to ensure that road transport rules are applied effectively and without discrimination. The current rules governing the access to the international market for coach and bus services appear to have been only partly effective in promoting this mode of transport. There are still differences in rules on access to national markets, differences in openness of national markets, diverse national access arrangements and discrimination in access to terminals in some EU countries. In an attempt to address the issue, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal on 8 November 2017 to amend the EU rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services. The proposal is part of its 'Europe on the Move' package, which aims to modernise European mobility and transport. The European Parliament adopted its position on the proposal on 14 February 2019. However, interinstitutional negotiations cannot yet begin, as the Council has not reached a common position on the file. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Modernisation of EU consumer protection rules: A new deal for consumers

15-04-2019

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. The proposal, which would amend four consumer protection directives, focuses on various consumer issues, including penalties for infringements, transparency on online marketplaces, protection for consumers of 'free' digital services, the right of withdrawal and dual quality of products. On 21 March 2019, Parliament and the Council reached provisional agreement on the proposal. The agreement rejects the proposed changes that would weaken the right of withdrawal. It bans several unfair commercial practices in all circumstances, and allows dual quality of products to be declared as misleading on a case-by-case basis. Parliament is expected to vote on the provisional agreement during the April II plenary session. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Ensuring more transparent and predictable working conditions

11-04-2019

An employer's obligation to inform their employees on the conditions applicable to their contracts is regulated by Directive 91/533/EEC. Major shifts in the labour market due to demographic trends and digitalisation, spawning a growing number of non-standard employment relationships, have made it necessary to revise the directive. The European Commission has responded to the need for change with a proposal aimed at updating and extending the information on employment-related obligations and working ...

An employer's obligation to inform their employees on the conditions applicable to their contracts is regulated by Directive 91/533/EEC. Major shifts in the labour market due to demographic trends and digitalisation, spawning a growing number of non-standard employment relationships, have made it necessary to revise the directive. The European Commission has responded to the need for change with a proposal aimed at updating and extending the information on employment-related obligations and working conditions, and at creating new minimum standards for all employed workers, including those on atypical contracts. In the European Parliament, the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) has adopted a report focused on the scope of the directive, on employees' working hours and the conditions for making information available to them, and on employers' responsibilities. The provisional agreement concluded in trilogue between European Parliament and the Council negotiators sets, among other things, new rules on the scope of the directive, the date of providing information, the length of probatory periods, and regulates working conditions in the case of variable working schedules. This agreement now needs to be approved by Parliament in plenary.

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