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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.

Sustainability of Health Systems

15-06-2018

This report summarises the presentations and discussions of a workshop on sustainability of health systems, held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday 15 May 2018. The aim of the workshop was to provide background to facilitate information exchange between health system experts and members of the ENVI Committee on the challenges and opportunities related to the sustainability of European health systems. The first part of the workshop focused on challenges to health system sustainability ...

This report summarises the presentations and discussions of a workshop on sustainability of health systems, held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday 15 May 2018. The aim of the workshop was to provide background to facilitate information exchange between health system experts and members of the ENVI Committee on the challenges and opportunities related to the sustainability of European health systems. The first part of the workshop focused on challenges to health system sustainability. Presentations looked at the sociodemographic challenges such as the aging of the population and the social determinants of health, at the impact of new technologies and access to medicines, and at the emergence of genetic and precision medicine. The second part of the workshop brought together different experiences of health system sustainability, looking at how the health systems of Japan, the Netherlands and Andalusia have adapted and are adapting to challenges to their sustainability.

Autor extern

Mr Matthew JONES, Ms Alessia VALENTINO, Dr Rosa CASTRO, Dr Meena FERNANDES, Ms Jennifer MCGUINN, Milieu Ltd, Brussels, Belgium

Demographic outlook for the European Union

21-12-2017

This paper is the first in an annual series which EPRS will be producing on the demographic outlook for the European Union (EU). Demography matters. The economy, labour market, healthcare, pensions, the environment, intergenerational fairness and election results – they are all driven by demography. The European Union (EU) has seen its population grow substantially – by around a quarter in the five and a half decades since 1960 – and it currently stands at over 500 million people. However, it is ...

This paper is the first in an annual series which EPRS will be producing on the demographic outlook for the European Union (EU). Demography matters. The economy, labour market, healthcare, pensions, the environment, intergenerational fairness and election results – they are all driven by demography. The European Union (EU) has seen its population grow substantially – by around a quarter in the five and a half decades since 1960 – and it currently stands at over 500 million people. However, it is now beginning to stagnate, before its expected decline from around the middle of the century. With the world population having risen still more substantially and growth continuing, the EU represents a shrinking proportion of the world population. The EU population is also ageing dramatically, as life expectancy increases and fertility rates are lower than in the past. This has serious implications across a range of areas including the economy, healthcare and pensions. Free movement within the EU and migration from third countries also plays an important role in shaping demography in individual Member States and regions. The 'in-focus' section of this analysis looks at health and notes that the data, whilst inconsistent, suggests that people are not necessarily experiencing the extra life years without limitations to their usual activity.

European Accessibility Act

10-11-2017

To ensure the full participation of people with disabilities in society and to reduce the fragmentation of legislation governing access to products and services, the European Commission has adopted a proposal for a directive – often referred to as the European Accessibility Act. This proposal provides for a common EU definition of, and implementation framework for, accessibility requirements for certain products and services. It also aims to use the same accessibility requirements to provide a clear ...

To ensure the full participation of people with disabilities in society and to reduce the fragmentation of legislation governing access to products and services, the European Commission has adopted a proposal for a directive – often referred to as the European Accessibility Act. This proposal provides for a common EU definition of, and implementation framework for, accessibility requirements for certain products and services. It also aims to use the same accessibility requirements to provide a clear definition of the existing general accessibility obligation laid down in European law. Many stakeholders welcome the European Union’s wish to honour its responsibilities under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but they have been divided on the means to reach this objective. In the European Parliament, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) adopted its report on 25 April 2017. The report was then discussed in plenary on 15 September. The amended text was approved by 537 votes to 12, with 89 abstentions. At the same time, Parliament gave a mandate to start negotiations with Council. Although the Council has published three progress reports, in June and December 2016 and in June 2017, it has yet to agree on its position.

Agricultural education and lifelong training in the EU

24-10-2017

European farmers fulfil a vital role in providing safe and affordable food to nearly 500 million European citizens, and maintaining their countries' landscapes. However, the farming population is ageing and generational renewal has become a crucial issue. The farming sector needs to attract a new generation of farmers with the necessary skills to live and work in a challenging context. They will have to produce more efficiently while protecting the environment; contribute to the fight against climate ...

European farmers fulfil a vital role in providing safe and affordable food to nearly 500 million European citizens, and maintaining their countries' landscapes. However, the farming population is ageing and generational renewal has become a crucial issue. The farming sector needs to attract a new generation of farmers with the necessary skills to live and work in a challenging context. They will have to produce more efficiently while protecting the environment; contribute to the fight against climate change; meet society's demands regarding healthy and balanced diets; and keep up with increasingly rapid scientific and technological progress. It is therefore essential that farmers benefit from adequate agricultural education and training and acquire the various skills needed to adapt to a changing environment. On average, only 8.5 % of the present generation of European farmers have received full agricultural training, and 70 % have only practical experience. Initial training is a national competence and agricultural education systems vary widely throughout the EU. They provide the path to a wide range of careers in agriculture and forestry and deliver degrees in a number of disciplines, from diploma courses with a vocational orientation to bachelor degrees or doctorates in applied sciences. The current common agricultural policy places strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and innovation. It provides for specific measures to help farmers access advice and training throughout their working lives. Support is also provided for innovation via the European innovation partnership network for agricultural productivity and sustainability (EIP-Agri). In several recent resolutions, the European Parliament has stressed the importance of education and training for farmers, in particular as a way to foster their ability to work in an ever-evolving sector.

Migration into the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

30-06-2017

At the European Council meeting of 23 June 2017, European Union Heads of State or Government agreed to strengthen efforts to reduce irregular migration flows on the central Mediterranean route, notably by speeding up training, equipping the Libyan coast guard and improving cooperation with countries of migration origin. However, the European Council made limited progress on reforming the Common European Asylum System, with the migration debate clouded by refusal of some central and eastern European ...

At the European Council meeting of 23 June 2017, European Union Heads of State or Government agreed to strengthen efforts to reduce irregular migration flows on the central Mediterranean route, notably by speeding up training, equipping the Libyan coast guard and improving cooperation with countries of migration origin. However, the European Council made limited progress on reforming the Common European Asylum System, with the migration debate clouded by refusal of some central and eastern European countries to accept refugees under the existing quotas. This note offers links to recent commentaries and studies on migration from major international think-tanks and research institutes.

European disability policy: From defining disability to adopting a strategy

12-06-2017

More than 70 million people in the EU, close to one in six, have a disability. Many of them encounter difficulties performing simple daily tasks, pursuing studies and getting a job. That is why, alongside and in support of Member State policies, the EU has committed to combating all forms of discrimination to which disabled people are particularly vulnerable.

More than 70 million people in the EU, close to one in six, have a disability. Many of them encounter difficulties performing simple daily tasks, pursuing studies and getting a job. That is why, alongside and in support of Member State policies, the EU has committed to combating all forms of discrimination to which disabled people are particularly vulnerable.

Reflection paper on the social dimension of the EU

07-06-2017

The paper on the EU's social dimension, the first of five papers within the white paper process, is the European Commission's contribution to a debate among the leaders of the 27 Member States (other than the UK), EU institutions, social partners and citizens on two major issues in the social and employment fields: the main challenges that Member States are facing and the added value of the various EU instruments available to tackle them. By the end of the process the EU should have a clear mandate ...

The paper on the EU's social dimension, the first of five papers within the white paper process, is the European Commission's contribution to a debate among the leaders of the 27 Member States (other than the UK), EU institutions, social partners and citizens on two major issues in the social and employment fields: the main challenges that Member States are facing and the added value of the various EU instruments available to tackle them. By the end of the process the EU should have a clear mandate from the Member States on the areas it should be tackling and on the extent of their commitment to working together. The results should feed into a document setting out practical measures for moving ahead, in time for the December 2017 European Council. The concepts 'social dimension' and 'social Europe' are interpreted in diverse ways across the EU and most of the competence developed over the past 60 years to implement policies remains with the Member States. In this context the Commission is proposing three alternative scenarios: an exclusive focus on the free movement of workers, development of a multispeed Europe, and genuine deepening of economic and monetary union across the EU-27. The successful implementation of the European pillar of social rights and related initiatives will depend a great deal on the outcome of this reflection process. The European Parliament has put forward several ideas on how to strengthen the social dimension of the European project, including by linking economic and social governance more closely, and increasing budgetary capacity so as to move towards upward convergence. This briefing is one in a series on the European Commission's reflection papers following up the March 2017 White Paper on the future of Europe.

Demography and Family Policies from a Gender Perspective

07-12-2016

The European Union is in the midst of three crises: the economic, the demographic and the refugee. This study evaluates policies aiming at increasing fertility through work-life balance, reveals their interrelation with family policies and economic priorities and suggests ways of addressing challenges on all three fronts with the view to minimise their gendered outcomes.

The European Union is in the midst of three crises: the economic, the demographic and the refugee. This study evaluates policies aiming at increasing fertility through work-life balance, reveals their interrelation with family policies and economic priorities and suggests ways of addressing challenges on all three fronts with the view to minimise their gendered outcomes.

Autor extern

Konstantina DAVAKI (London School of Economics and Political Sciences, the UK)

Recast occupational pensions directive (IORP II)

15-11-2016

The Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) Directive, from 2003, covers certain occupational pension savings. IORPs hold assets worth €2.5 trillion on behalf of around 75 million Europeans and are found mainly in the United Kingdom (55.9 % of IORP assets) and the Netherlands (30.7 %). Around a further 10 % of IORP assets are in Germany (4.5 %), Italy (2.8 %) and Ireland (2.4 %). The proposed revision (known as IORP II), to be debated during the Parliament's November plenary session ...

The Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) Directive, from 2003, covers certain occupational pension savings. IORPs hold assets worth €2.5 trillion on behalf of around 75 million Europeans and are found mainly in the United Kingdom (55.9 % of IORP assets) and the Netherlands (30.7 %). Around a further 10 % of IORP assets are in Germany (4.5 %), Italy (2.8 %) and Ireland (2.4 %). The proposed revision (known as IORP II), to be debated during the Parliament's November plenary session, aims to improve the governance, risk management, transparency and information provision of IORPs and help increase cross-border IORP activity.

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