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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Energy supply and security

28-06-2019

Energy policy is a competence shared between the EU and its Member States. Whereas the EU has responsibility under the Treaties to ensure security of supply, Member States are responsible for determining the structure of their energy supply and their choice of energy sources. EU legislation on security of supply focuses on natural gas and electricity markets, and is closely related to other EU objectives: consolidating a single energy market, improving energy efficiency, and promoting renewable energy ...

Energy policy is a competence shared between the EU and its Member States. Whereas the EU has responsibility under the Treaties to ensure security of supply, Member States are responsible for determining the structure of their energy supply and their choice of energy sources. EU legislation on security of supply focuses on natural gas and electricity markets, and is closely related to other EU objectives: consolidating a single energy market, improving energy efficiency, and promoting renewable energy sources to decarbonise the economy and meet the Paris Agreement goals. The 2014-2019 legislature saw numerous initiatives in connection with security of supply. The EU institutions reached agreement on a revised regulation on security of gas supply, a revised regulation on security of electricity supply, a revised decision on intergovernmental agreements in the energy field, a targeted revision of the gas directive to apply its key provisions to pipelines with third countries, and also new targets for energy efficiency and renewables by 2030. Parliament also adopted several own-initiative resolutions in the energy field, including one on the new EU strategy on liquefied natural gas and gas storage, which is key to gas supply security. Meanwhile, EU projects of common interest (PCIs) finance energy infrastructure that improves interconnection and supports security of supply. There is growing expectation among EU citizens that the EU will step up its involvement in energy supply and security. Whereas this view was shared by just over half of EU citizens in 2016 (52 %), it is now expressed by roughly two thirds (65 %). The EU will retain a key role in monitoring security of supply throughout the energy transition from the old system of centralised generation dominated by fossil fuels in national markets, towards a new system characterised by a high share of renewables, more localised production and cross-border markets. However, the EU would need to use a special legislative procedure if it wanted to intervene directly in determining the energy supply of its Member States. This procedure requires decision-making by unanimity in Council and only a consultative role for the Parliament. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Public opinion and the EU budget - Who supports the EU budget?

05-10-2018

The budget of the European Union (EU budget) provides the EU with the means to finance its policies and to respond to challenges which occur. Due to its scope, the perception of the EU budget is linked to citizens’ perception of the EU as a whole, its legitimacy and reputation, as well as the performance of the EU institutions. This briefing analyses public opinion surveys related to the EU budget, in particular citizens' preferences for greater EU financial means and their evaluation of the EU budget ...

The budget of the European Union (EU budget) provides the EU with the means to finance its policies and to respond to challenges which occur. Due to its scope, the perception of the EU budget is linked to citizens’ perception of the EU as a whole, its legitimacy and reputation, as well as the performance of the EU institutions. This briefing analyses public opinion surveys related to the EU budget, in particular citizens' preferences for greater EU financial means and their evaluation of the EU budget as 'good' or 'poor' value for money. It sets the analysis of public opinion in the context of debate on reforming the EU budget and on setting the next multiannual financial framework. According to recent Eurobarometer data, 37 % of Europeans support the EU having greater financial means given its political objectives, and 31 % think that the EU budget gives good value for money for EU citizens. Although the demand for greater support and the positive opinion of the EU budget both have positive trends over time, there is still much to be addressed. A closer look at the data demonstrates significant differences between the opinions across the Member States. Although a more sceptical trend can be observed amongst net contributor Member States, the diversity in the data cannot be explained only by the positioning of a country on the net contributor-net beneficiary continuum. The opinions of citizens across Member States vary in their values as well as in their direction of change over time. In addition, the opinions on the EU budget can be linked to personal factors - younger Europeans tend to express stronger support for greater EU financial means than older ones.

From Rome to Sibiu

12-04-2018

The purpose of this paper is to assess the follow-up and delivery by the European Council on the priorities that were set in the declaration adopted in Rome on 25 March 2017 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. The analysis shows that in the year since Rome, and a year before the special summit on the Future of Europe debate, due to take place in the Romanian city of Sibiu on 9 May 2019, substantive progress has been made regarding the debate itself and implementation ...

The purpose of this paper is to assess the follow-up and delivery by the European Council on the priorities that were set in the declaration adopted in Rome on 25 March 2017 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. The analysis shows that in the year since Rome, and a year before the special summit on the Future of Europe debate, due to take place in the Romanian city of Sibiu on 9 May 2019, substantive progress has been made regarding the debate itself and implementation of the policy priorities identified in the Bratislava Declaration/Roadmap and the Rome Declaration. The evidence so far suggests that the European Council, as well as the other EU institutions, have followed up on the pledges made in Rome, in an effort to boost the legitimacy of the EU, connect with a disaffected public, and combat Euroscepticism. The Leaders' Agenda, adopted by October 2017, made an important contribution to the Future of Europe debate and, furthermore, was a potentially far-reaching institutional innovation for the European Council. Under the Leaders' Agenda, discussions among the Heads of State or Government now attempt to resolve seemingly intractable policy disputes by means of a new working method. Not only has this helped to operationalise the Rome Declaration, it also seems to have consolidated the European Council's position at the centre of the EU policy-making and agenda-setting framework.

The EU’s Market Access Strategy: does it reach its main goals?

13-12-2017

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access ...

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access barriers. There is broad support for the MAS among stakeholders who are aware of the mechanism and a virtual consensus that greater emphasis should be given by the European Union to identifying and removing barriers to trade and investment in third countries. Two types of challenges confront the MAS and, as a result, its effectiveness. One centres on the identification of protectionist measures and the ability of the EU to induce policy changes by trading partners. The other is to improve awareness among EU exporters of the existence of the MAP and leveraging the tools that are available to address market access restrictions. The European Parliament can contribute to addressing these challenges by engaging with national parliaments and constituencies on the existence and utility of the MAS and in advocating that market access issues be prioritised in the activities of the European Commission. The European Parliament can also play an increased role in helping to achieve the goals of the MAS and support EU exports by raising market access issues when they engage with third country counterparts.

Awtur estern

Bernard HOEKMAN, Matteo FIORINI, Roberta IGLIOZZI, Naïs RALAISON and Aydin YLDIRIM.