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European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS)

23-05-2024 579.090
Briefing
Summary : As part of its ambition to complete the banking union, the European Commission has proposed to introduce a European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS) to reduce the potential spill-over risk of local bank failures on the financial stability of the economic and monetary union as a whole. According to the proposal of 24 November 2015, the EDIS would be the third pillar of the banking union. It would be introduced gradually, in three separate phases between 2017 and 2024, complementing national deposit guarantee schemes. The proposal would also have implications for the overall resolution framework for banks under the single resolution mechanism (SRM), so the Commission proposes to amend the SRM Regulation (EU) No 806/2014, introducing a common deposit insurance system as of 2024. In the meantime, the Commission has tabled a package of proposals for bank crisis management and deposit insurance. In Parliament, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) is responsible for the file. While the first draft report was never adopted by ECON, a second draft report was adopted in ECON in April 2024. The report suggests focusing on the first step of EDIS – namely the liquidity insurance fund, now called 'EDIS I' – and reiterates the need for a fully-fledged EDIS, to be adopted through a new Commission proposal. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : HALLAK ISSAM

Reform of the Qualification Directive

23-05-2024 603.914
Briefing
Summary : The 2015 refugee and migrant crisis in Europe called into question existing EU legislation on asylum, in particular the criteria according to which applicants for international protection can qualify for refugee or subsidiary protection status, as recognised in the Qualification Directive. Although national asylum rules are more closely aligned than they were, there continue to be major differences in approach across the EU. This can lead asylum-seekers to claim refuge in Member States whose asylum systems appear to be more generous, rather than in the Member State officially responsible for their asylum applications. The European Commission's proposal of 13 July 2016 proposed to replace the Qualification Directive with a regulation, setting uniform standards for the recognition of people in need of protection and for the rights granted to beneficiaries of international protection. The European Parliament and the Council reached provisional agreement on the text in June 2018. After being blocked since 2018, the two institutions reached a final agreement on the regulation on 15 December 2022. Coreper approved the agreement on 8 February 2024. Parliament adopted the text during its plenary session of 10 April 2024. The regulation enters into force in June 2024 and into application on 1 July 2026. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : RADJENOVIC Anja

Resettlement of refugees: EU framework

23-05-2024 589.859
Briefing
Summary : On 13 July 2016, as part of the reform of the common European asylum system and the long-term policy on better migration management, the European Commission presented a proposal to provide for a permanent framework with standard common procedures for resettlement across the EU, to complement current national and multilateral resettlement initiatives. Resettlement is a tool to help displaced persons in need of protection reach Europe safely and legally, and receive protection for as long as necessary. It is a durable solution that includes selection and transfer of refugees from a country where they seek protection to another country. In addition to providing refugees with international protection, its aim is to strengthen solidarity and responsibility-sharing between countries. For a resettlement to take place, the United Nations Refugee Agency has to determine an applicant is a refugee according to the 1951 Geneva Convention, and has to identify resettlement as the most appropriate solution. Although the European Parliament and the Council reached a partial provisional agreement on the proposal in summer 2018, the Council was unable to endorse it; nor could it agree on a mandate for further negotiations. The co-legislators finally reached an agreement on 15 December 2022. Coreper approved the agreement on 8 February 2024. Parliament adopted the text during its plenary session of 10 April 2024. The regulation enters into force in June 2024 and will apply from 12 June 2026. Sixth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : RADJENOVIC Anja

Common procedure for asylum

23-05-2024 595.920
Briefing
Summary : As part of the common European asylum system (CEAS), the Asylum Procedures Directive sets out procedures for Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection in accordance with the Qualification Directive. Following the large influx of asylum-seekers to the European Union after 2014, the directive came under criticism for being too complex and for leaving Member States too broad discretion, leading to differences in treatment and outcomes. On 13 July 2016, as part of the reform of the CEAS, the Commission published a proposal to replace the current directive with a regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection applicable in all participating Member States. The choice of a directly applicable regulation is expected to bring about harmonisation of the procedures, ensuring same steps, timeframes and safeguards across the EU. The 2016 proposal having reached deadlock, the Commission proposed an amended regulation on 23 September 2020 under its new pact on asylum and migration, suggesting targeted amendments to help overcome certain contentious issues relating in particular to the border procedure and return. At its plenary session on 10 April 2024, the European Parliament adopted the two texts resulting from interinstitutional negotiations. The Council adopted both texts on 14 May 2024. The Common Procedure Regulation and the Border Return Regulation were published in the Official Journal on 22 May 2024. The regulations will apply from 12 June 2026. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : ORAV Anita

Addressing challenges to European multi-country collaboration models for rare diseases

22-05-2024 757.794
Study
Summary : Rare diseases – defined as diseases that affect no more than one person in 2 000 – currently impact between 30 and 35 million EU citizens. Limited patient volume hinders research on these diseases, to the detriment of understanding of their biology, recruitment to clinical trials and survival rates. Real-time sharing of primary health data within and between rare disease healthcare centres and across Member States is feasible but there are obstacles. This report focuses on childhood cancer as a rare disease prototype, addressing volume challenges by reviewing cooperative structures, exploring attitudes towards data sharing, and presenting policy options for multi-country collaboration. Interviews show support for collaboration among rare disease healthcare centres, and for sharing medical files and expertise. The policy options proposed seek to promote research and expertise-building for the benefit of rare disease patients.
Document type

Annex 1

Research for REGI committee - Absorption Rates of Cohesion Policy Funds Final Study

22-05-2024 759.318 REGI
At a Glance
Summary : This study analyses the absorption rates of the EU Cohesion Policy funds in 2014-2020 over time across funds (ERDF, ESF, CF, and REACT-EU), and across Member States and regions. It also provides a comparison with 2007-2013 absorption. A summary of absorption drivers, obstacles and undertaken solutions is presented based on the relevant literature and the findings of case studies. Conclusions and recommendations on improving the absorption of funds are set out.

Mexico ahead of the June 2024 general election

22-05-2024 762.314
Briefing
Summary : Mexico, the world's most populous Spanish-speaking country, will hold its largest ever elections on 2 June 2024. Almost 98 million voters will pick a new president, all 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies, all 128 members of the Senate of the Republic, state governors and, in total, over 20 000 public service positions, at state and local levels. One outcome is already clear: for the first time in history, the President of the United Mexican States will be a woman. The next president will have to deal with the problems that have plagued Mexico for many years, such as public security, human rights violations, migration and corruption. Economically, Mexico performed better than most other Latin American economies in 2023. The country is one of the primary beneficiaries of 'nearshoring' (the relocation of manufacturing from Asia to North America to decouple from Chinese supply chains). For the first time in two decades, the United States imported more goods from Mexico than from China. The newly elected Mexican president's foreign affairs agenda could be strongly impacted by the outcome of the 2024 US presidential election. While a second term for President Joe Biden would yield continuity, a Trump victory would imply major challenges for US-Mexico relations. The elections matter not only to Mexicans and their regional neighbours, but also to the European Union (EU). Mexico is one of the EU's two strategic partners in Latin America, its second biggest trade partner in the region and a key partner in the multilateral sphere. The modernisation of the EU Mexico Global Agreement, which the European Parliament also supports, has still to be finalised.
Authors : JUTTEN Marc

A new operational framework for the European Central Bank

22-05-2024 762.313
Briefing
Summary : The European Central Bank's operational framework is a set of tools it uses to control the amount of money flowing through the economy in order to keep prices stable. The calibration of those tools determines how quickly and strongly the central bank can steer short-term interest rates and ultimately how monetary policy affects economic output and inflation. The operational framework concerns how a monetary decision is implemented, not what the decision is. Over the last 10 years, the ECB has introduced several new policy tools, which has led to a significant increase in excess liquidity – that is, reserves held by banks beyond minimum requirements. In the course of recent monetary tightening efforts, the ECB has started to shrink its balance sheet, and excess liquidity has fallen by about €1.2 trillion. The new operational framework is a reaction to ongoing changes in the liquidity environment, from a situation of abundant excess liquidity to one of less ample liquidity. To this end, the ECB has effectively made a small adjustment to the width of the corridor between two policy rates, which will be implemented as of September 2024. In addition, two new instruments will be added to the ECB monetary policy toolbox: a structural portfolio of assets, and long-term refinancing operations. No specific details have been provided on the new tools in terms of technical features or the timing of their introduction.
Authors : HOFLMAYR MARTIN

Health consequences of prolonged exposure to multiple industrial air pollutants

21-05-2024 757.793
Study
Summary : Air pollution is the single most significant environmental health risk in the European Union, causing chronic disease and premature mortality. Some 300 000 premature deaths are caused by fine particulate matter annually in the EU, and the annual economic cost of air pollution is at least €330 billion. Industrial plants are a significant source of air pollution, releasing a wide range of harmful pollutants that can seriously impact on human health and the environment. While previous research has examined the health effects of individual air pollutants, there is a growing need to investigate the health consequences of prolonged exposure and exposure to multiple pollutants, as may occur in locations close to industrial plants. While the EU has implemented a range of initiatives to control and reduce air pollutants from industrial plants, a comprehensive review of available scientific information on the levels of existing air pollutants and their health impacts in the EU is still largely missing. This study investigates the impact of prolonged exposure to multiple air pollutants on EU citizens' health, with a particular focus on geographical areas with large industrial plants that have a history of air pollution, such as the Ruhr valley in Germany and Taranto in Italy. The study proposes policy options for measures to monitor and regulate industrial emissions, particularly in sites with multiple pollutants, that would inform EU standards and could mitigate the identified adverse impacts on human health.
Document type

Annex 1

United Kingdom: Economic indicators and trade with EU

21-05-2024 646.160
At a Glance
Summary : This infographic provides an insight into the economic performance of the United Kingdom compared with the European Union (EU) and looks at the trade dynamics between them. United Kingdom’s GDP per capita at the beginning of the series was significantly higher than the EU27 average. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the GDP per capita at PPP between the EU and the United Kingdom took converging directions. The exchange rate between the Pound Sterling and the Euro stabilized at approximately 0.9 after the 2016 increase. The inflation rate increased with similar trends in both the United Kingdom and the EU, but in the latter, the rate decreased more rapidly, reaching 6.3% in 2023. The EU is the leading trade partner for the United Kingdom, and their imports and exports are mainly composed of the exchange of mechanical appliances, vehicles and aircraft, and energy components. For the United Kingdom, the EU is its main trade partner, accounting for 51.8% of its total trade in goods (exports plus imports).
Authors : MACSAI GYORGYI

Research for REGI committee - Absorption Rates of Cohesion Policy Funds Final Study

20-05-2024 747.285 REGI
Study
Summary : This study analyses the absorption rates of the EU Cohesion Policy funds in 2014-2020 over time across funds (ERDF, ESF, CF, and REACT-EU), and across Member States and regions. It also provides a comparison with 2007-2013 absorption. A summary of absorption drivers, obstacles and undertaken solutions is presented based on the relevant literature and the findings of case studies. Conclusions and recommendations on improving the absorption of funds are set out.

Making representation of third countries' interests more transparent

20-05-2024 762.312
Briefing
Summary : According to the Flash Eurobarometer 528 survey, released in December 2023, 81 % of Europeans believe that foreign interference in our democratic systems is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The current geopolitical tensions highlight the following dilemma: while international cooperation is required to tackle global challenges such as climate change, including the participation of third countries in the EU debate, such activities also carry the risk of foreign interference in EU policymaking, which can be defined as the harnessing of EU policy proceedings through coercive, covert or deceptive means. On 12 December 2023, the Commission published the defence of democracy package, which includes a proposal for a directive establishing harmonised requirements on transparency of interest representation carried out on behalf of third countries, as well as two proposals for Council recommendations, one on inclusive and resilient electoral processes in the Union, and one on promoting the engagement of citizens and civil society organisations in public policymaking. The majority of Member States have already adopted legislative or non-legislative measures to regulate interest representation activities in general, with several of them having also established specific registers. This proposal is about ensuring the transparency of interest representation activities geared towards influencing policymaking in the EU as a whole, while also facilitating the exercise of such activities across the single market. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : EVROUX CLEMENT THIERRY

Soil monitoring and resilience directive

16-05-2024 757.627
Briefing
Summary : Currently, there is no EU-wide legislation specifically on soil, although many policy instruments relevant to soil protection are in place. Under the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission presented a new EU soil strategy for 2030, with the aim of having all EU soil ecosystems in a healthy condition by 2050. To achieve this objective, on 5 July 2023 it tabled a proposal for a soil monitoring and resilience directive, laying down measures for monitoring and assessing soil health, based on a common definition of what constitutes healthy soil, for managing soils sustainably, and for tackling contaminated sites. While stakeholders agree on the need for a soil monitoring framework, concerns have been raised about the indicators chosen to describe and assess soil health, provisions on land take, the lack of a roadmap, plans and intermediate targets to achieve the overarching 2050 objective, application of the polluter pays principle, and funding available to support land owners and managers. Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), responsible for the file, adopted its report on 11 March 2024. On 10 April 2024, Parliament adopted its position at first reading, based on the amended ENVI report. The Council has yet to agree its general approach. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : HALLEUX Vivienne

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

16-05-2024 762.311
At a Glance
Summary : The recast Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) has been designed to accelerate building renovation rates, reduce energy consumption, and promote the uptake of renewable energy in buildings. These measures should help the EU reach its target of a net 55 % reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, as a stepping stone towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
Authors : DULIAN Monika

Digital finance legislation: Overview and state of play

15-05-2024 762.308
Briefing
Summary : Digital finance can broadly be defined as financial services and instruments that use or are based on new information and communication technologies (ICT). A wide range of segments of the financial system are therefore concerned, from digital payment services to the new market infrastructures of crypto-assets using distributed ledger technologies (DLT). Policymakers expect digital finance to benefit the financial system – for example, in terms of transaction and settlement costs, as well as financial inclusion. However, digital finance also poses new risks, especially for financial stability and the protection of citizens. The idea behind the EU regulatory approach is that by providing a sound regulatory framework, homogenous throughout the EU, these risks can be monitored and controlled, while also favouring the desired innovation. To that end, the European Commission, together with the European supervisory authorities and the European Central Bank, conduct regular reviews of the EU regulatory framework and check its ability to face these risks and the potential needs for intervention. In 2020, the Commission tabled a major digital finance strategy to provide a sound, EU-level regulatory and supervisory framework in a number of digital finance domains. The EU has already adopted new laws resulting from this initiative. The Regulation on Markets in Crypto-assets is establishing a new legal environment for DLT-based 'coins' with a stable value ('stablecoins'); another regulation will provide a framework for the monitoring and control of digital operational resilience for the financial sector. More legislative procedures are ongoing in the fields of open finance and the digital euro. New directions are being suggested, such as the establishment of a 'unified ledger', to smoothen transfers between instruments using different DLT market infrastructure.
Authors : HALLAK ISSAM

When EU temporary protection for displaced people from Ukraine ends: Possible scenarios

15-05-2024 762.309
Briefing
Summary : With no end in sight to the war in Ukraine, the EU has started preparing for the post March 2025 period, when temporary protection for displaced people from Ukraine ends. The Temporary Protection Directive – triggered for the first time ever in March 2022, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine – has enabled EU Member States to offer assistance and rights to people in need of immediate protection. In principle, once the temporary protection period ends, the general laws on protection and on non-EU nationals in Member States will apply, including on return. Yet, there is a general fear that when large numbers of beneficiaries of temporary protection suddenly start seeking international protection, asylum systems risk being overwhelmed. Moreover, uncertainty about temporary protection beneficiaries' legal status might place them in a legal limbo, with potential periods of irregular residence owing to slow processing of applications for international protection. Moreover, even if eligible for refugee or subsidiary protection status, beneficiaries will not enjoy the same rights as under the Temporary Protection Directive. Academics and organisations dealing with migration management therefore agree on the urgency of finding a solution that would ensure a smooth transition out of the temporary protection regime and encourage eventual return to Ukraine. However, with the European elections taking place in June, the timing may not be ideal to amend existing EU legislation or craft new EU laws, as the legislative work in the European institutions will temporarily be put on hold. Moreover, a newly composed European Parliament and European Commission, as well as a new rotating presidency of the Council of the EU as from July, might also complicate decision-making. This briefing provides an overview of the potential exit strategies discussed by experts in the field, including the pros and cons of the most widely discussed options.
Authors : LUYTEN KATRIEN

'Europeanising' the electoral ballot

15-05-2024 762.310
Briefing
Summary : This briefing discusses the issue of the 'Europeanisation' of the ballot papers in Member States ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections. The European Parliament has made two recent attempts at electoral reform seeking to 'Europeanise the European elections. The second of these – still to be agreed with the Council – seeks to align electoral rules across the EU Member States. With the 2024 European elections imminent, it is useful to take a closer look at the rules as they currently stand. The focus of this briefing is the notion of the 'Europeanisation' of the electoral ballot in its narrowest sense, namely whether ballot papers used in each Member State for the European Parliament elections can include the logos and/or names of the European political parties to which the respective national political parties are affiliated. This exploration of the issue of the visibility of European political parties on the ballot papers for European elections is broken down into three parts. The first is the rationale behind and progress in the 'Europeanisation' of the European electoral process, with a particular focus on reforms geared towards showing the affiliation of national parties to European political parties on the ballot paper. The EU institutions have taken several initiatives intended to inject mutual European features into the national political processes ahead of the elections to the European Parliament. The second is a discussion of the data on European features of national ballot papers for the 2014 and 2019 European Parliament elections. The third part analyses the current state of ballot papers in all Member States, i.e. those applicable to the 2024 European elections, examining the extent to which Member States allow or forbid the visibility of European political party logos and/or names on the ballot paper for the European elections. This last section includes a synopsis of the similarities and differences between Member States.
Authors : DEL MONTE Micaela, KOTANIDIS Silvia, MILDEBRATH Hendrik Alexander, BARANÍK Kamil

Environmental determinants of health, including those caused by climate change

14-05-2024 754.209 SANT
Study
Summary : This in-depth analysis (IDA) examines the environmental determinants of health and their consequences, especially on the health of disadvantaged communities. It also assesses the impacts of European Union (EU) policies on the environment insofar as they affect human health, and provides recommendations on how the One Health and the Health in All Policies approaches can be better implemented in EU policy-making. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the Subcommittee on Public Health (SANT).

Choosing Europe's future: The 2024 ESPAS report

13-05-2024 757.825
At a Glance
Summary : The latest report of the ESPAS network, Choosing Europe’s Future, analyses global trends in order to identify key strategic challenges for the EU as the next legislative cycle begins. It is the fruit of collaboration between nine EU institutions and bodies. Key takeaways include the importance of being able to act quickly, given that game-changing developments can happen suddenly. It notes the risk of false economies; in areas such as defence and security, for example, efforts to avoid costs now can mean far greater costs in the future. The report points to the importance of threat multipliers and gain multipliers. Action to mitigate social fragmentation can prevent knock-on effects in other domains; the development of effective clean technologies can bring dividends across the board.
Authors : NOONAN EAMONN

Judicial independence in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights

12-05-2024 762.305
Briefing
Summary : Judicial independence is one of the key components of the rule of law. It is enshrined in Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which states explicitly that 'everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing ... by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law'. Article 6(3) of the Treaty on European Union considers the fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention, to be general principles of EU law. Against this backdrop, the present briefing presents an overview of European Court of Human Rights case law on judicial independence. It focuses on various issues, including: the concept of judicial independence and criteria for assessing it; procedures for appointing judges and possible irregularities; the question of term of office, including the vetting of judges and early termination of term in office; the problem of external influence on judges (by the executive); possible lack of internal independence (from other judges); the question of combining judicial office with other work; and the question of judicial immunity. Recent European Court of Human Rights case law has clarified the notion of a 'tribunal established by law', especially in the context of judicial reforms seeking to expand the influence of the executive and legislative powers over the judiciary, thereby undermining its independence.
Authors : MAŃKO Rafał

Free movement of EU citizens and their family members: An overview

12-05-2024 762.303
Briefing
Summary : Directive 2004/38/EC (also known as the Citizens' Rights Directive or alternatively the Free Movement Directive) establishes the conditions under which European Union (EU) citizens and their family members, whether they are EU citizens or third-country nationals (TCNs), can exercise the right of free movement within the EU. Before the adoption of this directive, there were several other directives and a regulation that addressed different categories of mobile EU citizens. The provisions of the directive arespecific, meaning that all articles have direct effect and do not allow much flexibility for the Member States in their implementation. The directive covers not only EU citizenship but also the free movement of workers, establishment and services. Consequently, the directive introduces separate categories of beneficiaries each with their own unique set of specific rights. This briefing offers an overview of the various conditions and rights outlined in the directive for both EU citizens and their family members.
Authors : DE GROOT DAVID ARMAND JACQUES GERA

Addressing the critical state of European eel stocks

12-05-2024 762.306
Briefing
Summary : The European eel population has suffered a dramatic decline since the 1980s. Several factors, both fisheries- and non-fisheries-related, are considered responsible for the high mortality rate among the fish species. The eel has a very complex life cycle covering several metamorphoses as well as long-distance migration, and many details of the species' life are still unknown. The shrinking eel population has gone hand in hand with decline in traditional eel fisheries. In 2007, the EU adopted Council Regulation (EC) No 1100/2007 (the 'Eel Regulation') to aid the recovery of the European eel stock. The regulation's main target is the escapement to the sea of at least 40 % of the adult silver eel population. EU Members States are obliged to have an eel management plan in place. Since 2010, all trade in eel with countries outside the EU has been banned, following the listing of the species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2009. In 2018, the Council adopted the first in a series of temporary eel fishing closures, banning eel fishing for several months. However, the European Commission concludes in a 2020 report that the status of the European eel remains critical and that the regulation's main target has not been reached. The report also questions the efficiency of some of the measures implemented at Member State level. Other reports raise similar concerns. In its resolution of 21 November 2023 on the implementation of the Eel Regulation, the European Parliament highlighted that more work needed to be done on the non-fisheries factors having an impact on eel mortality. It called on Member States to continue the practice of restocking as a necessary temporary measure. Parliament also suggested establishing an eel-specific expert group representing all relevant stakeholders.
Authors : ALTMAYER Anne

Reflections on the 2024 IMF Spring Meetings

07-05-2024 755.742 ECON
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : The Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) convene finance ministers and central bank governors to participate in the highest-level decision-making bodies of the two institutions, as well as in various committees and groups that drive the agenda on issues related to the international monetary system and development policy. The 2024 Spring Meetings took place in Washington, D.C., United States from 15 to 20 April. This paper sumarises the main developments and outcomes of the 2024 Spring Meetings, focusing on IMF-related issues.
Authors : RAKIC Drazen, SABOL MAJA, HANINA KATERYNA

Demographic change in Europe: A toolbox for action

06-05-2024 762.302
Briefing
Summary : Europe is experiencing a significant demographic shift, which greatly influences daily life and requires comprehensive, integrated responses. As EU citizens enjoy longer, healthier lifespans, it is imperative for all Union policies to be proactive and facilitate the transition from an ageing society to one that embraces longevity. The demography toolbox, devised by the European Commission, incorporates insights from across the EU and presents a holistic strategy to address demographic transformation through four key areas: supporting parents, empowering younger generations, enhancing the well-being of older generations, and managing migration effectively. The toolbox acknowledges the importance of considering the geographical aspects of demographic trends, particularly in areas facing population decline and notable emigration of young workers. This briefing delves into the initiatives implemented following the release of two pivotal Commission communications: the green paper on ageing and the long-term vision for rural areas. It outlines the EU legislative instruments and programmes that bolster the four central components of the toolbox. Furthermore, the paper examines the demographic trends at regional and local level, focusing on the implementation of the Commission's Talent Booster Mechanism. The briefing also provides a synopsis of the EU cohesion funding mechanisms designed to mitigate the adverse impacts of demographic change. This briefing has been drafted at the request of a member of the European Economic and Social Committee, in the framework of the agreement between the European Parliament and the Committee.
Authors : SZECHY BALAZS ANDRAS, PAPE Marketa

European Economic Security: Current practices and further development

01-05-2024 754.449 INTA
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : The rise in geopolitical tensions in recent years and the weaponisation of trade links have led to an increased focus on economic security. With its Economic Security Strategy, the European Commission has put EU-level initiatives in this area into an overarching framework. In this in-depth analysis, we discuss the challenges posed by economic security and the approaches to it taken by other large economies. We then analyse the European strategy in this framework. While the EU has been slower than other large economies to focus on economic security, it has learned from its peers and there has been a notable evolution of European measures in this area. However, challenges remain, in particular with regard to the coordination of measures that are still largely national competencies. Furthermore, more could be done to align incentives for both companies and countries to avoid moral hazard risks. Finally, more progress has to be done to align the foreign policies of EU countries to give credibility to economic security instruments.

Key new factors likely to shape the EU’s trade agenda in the next five-year term.

01-05-2024 754.448 INTA
Briefing
Summary : The landscape in which European Union trade policy operates has changed drastically in recent years. In addition to, and partly in competition with, its traditional objective of economic wellbeing, EU trade policy has become increasingly shaped by two other considerations: geopolitics and concerns over the resilience of supply chains, and climate change. This briefing note examines the emergence of this new landscape, how it has already affected EU trade policy with measures to increase European economic security and complement the European Green Deal, how it might affect EU trade policy in the next five years, and how the new landscape has already impacted and might affect in future the multilateral trading system. EU policymakers should be cautious about the economic and climate costs associated with geopolitical-driven policies, particularly in trade. The note ends with recommendations for EU trade policy, calling for a comprehensive assessment of costs in economic terms and climate objectives to safeguard living standards and maintain opportunities for international cooperation in the current context of heightened economic security concerns. Despite evident internal divisions over the EU's approach to multilateralism, finding a strategic balance between its traditional stance and fostering key trade partnerships is imperative.

Law and ICT

29-04-2024 762.738 JURI
Study
Summary : Exponential progress in the area of ICT improves access to data and information, which in its turn can lead to greater accessibility, reduced complexity, efficiency and respect of fundamental rights in policy, law making and implementation of law. Drafting and publication of laws need to be reformed from paper based format to modern digital media. Expertise, evidence and data should constitute mandatory elements of policy and law making. Ex-post quantified evaluation of legislation needs to be applied consistently. This study was prepared by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee.

Recovery and Resilience Plans: the involvement of stakeholders and their view

29-04-2024 699.530 ECON
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : This paper presents findings from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) midterm evaluation, with a particular focus on assessments from various stakeholders regarding its setup and initial implementation. It also builds on the latest activities and assessments by previously published papers summarizing the stakeholders views at the EU, national, regional, and local levels in connection with the national Recovery and Resilience Plans. Additionally, it offers a collection of the most recent opinions and assessments from EU stakeholders, as well as other pertinent institutions and bodies, on the execution of these plans.
Authors : LEHOFER WOLFGANG, HANINA KATERYNA

EGOV 2023 Annual Activity Report

28-04-2024 755.740 ECON
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : This activity report covers the year 2023 and presents an overview of the expertise provided by the Unit, notably in the area of EU economic governance, Recovery and Resilience Facility, Banking Union and Monetary Policy in view of supporting the related scrutiny activities in the competent committee(s). The activity of the Unit also covered preparations of inter-parliamentary meetings, including co-operation with EU national parliaments at staff level, and technical support to Ukraine in the domain of the Unit.
Authors : HAGELSTAM Kajus, BOLDI DONELLA, TURCU OVIDIU IONUT, LOI GIACOMO

Recreational use of cannabis: Laws and policies in selected EU Member States

26-04-2024 762.307
Briefing
Summary : Cannabis is by far the most commonly used illicit drug in the European Union (EU), where its distribution, cultivation, possession and use (consumption) are largely banned. The prohibition of drug-related activities other than those performed for medical or scientific purposes is the defining feature of the international drug control system. Set up by the United Nations (UN), this system is composed of three complementary conventions, to which all EU Member States are party. Countries around the world have made use of the flexibility of the UN system, forgoing criminal penalties in some cases (e.g. for possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use), or replacing them with administrative ones. The UN bodies monitoring compliance with the conventions seem to have come to accept these policy choices. However, they remain resistant to the still rare yet increasingly common practice of legalising the recreational use of cannabis, which may entail regulating drug distribution and sale in a manner akin to that for alcohol and tobacco. In the EU, drug policy has remained primarily a Member State preserve. The EU has fostered Member State cooperation on law enforcement and health-related issues, while at the same time respecting their diverse philosophies on how to address recreational drug use. National approaches range from very restrictive policies that prioritise criminal law responses, to more liberal ones that focus primarily on reducing the health and social harms resulting from drug use. In 2021, Malta became the first Member State to legalise, within strict limits, recreational cannabis, and several others have since taken steps that could potentially lead to similar drug policy reforms. This briefing updates an earlier one, entitled Recreational use of cannabis, published in 2023.
Authors : BAKOWSKI Piotr

Budgetary Outlook for the European Union 2024

26-04-2024 762.296
Study
Summary : Offering an overview of the budgetary situation in the European Union, this study continues an annual series of 'Outlooks' produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) over the past seven years. In seven chapters, the authors of the publication explain and analyse the EU budget from all angles. The study takes full account of the first-ever mid-term revision of the ceilings of the EU's multiannual financial framework (MFF), adopted early in 2024, and the subsequent adjustments to the 2024 annual budget. It provides an analysis of progress in implementing the investment and reform measures financed by Next Generation EU (NGEU), the new recovery instrument that has entered a crucial phase of its lifecycle. It looks towards the challenges for the post-2027 MFF, such as the repayment of grants for NGEU, the costs of enlargement and the financing of European competitiveness and defence. It analyses the discharge procedure and budgetary scrutiny, taking into consideration the recent 'Parliament 2024' reform. Finally, the study looks at EU budget revenues and reform of the own resources system.
Authors : KOWALD KAROLINE, PARI MARIANNA, MAZUR Sidonia, PETERS TIM ULRICH, D'ALFONSO Alessandro, DOBREVA Alina, MILEUSNIC MARIN, TOFT SØREN SEBASTIAN

Reception and integration of displaced people from Ukraine

25-04-2024 762.299
At a Glance
Summary : Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, more than 4 million Ukrainians have been welcomed under the temporary protection scheme in the EU. From the beginning of the war, the European Commission, national, regional and local authorities, together with civil society and international organisations, have worked to facilitate the reception and the integration of people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Authors : MENTZELOPOULOU Maria-Margarita

A future-proof network for the EU: Full fibre and 5G

25-04-2024 762.298
Briefing
Summary : Advanced digital network infrastructure and digital services will be key in shaping the competitiveness of many European Union (EU) sectors – among them manufacturing, energy and healthcare – in the near future. Furthermore, these infrastructure and services are at the core of the twin digital and green transition that seeks to leverage the synergies between technological advancements and environmental sustainability. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the EU's networks are up to the task, including in terms of transmission speed. Having high-performing fixed and mobile networks with a higher transmission speed can have a positive effect on economic development as well, by boosting the gross domestic product. In its Digital Decade strategy, the European Commission put forward its vision for new strategic connectivity targets for 2030, such as preparing the EU for the roll-out of the next generation of broadband infrastructure with gigabit speeds. This briefing aims to provide an overview of full fibre and 5G mobile networks as part of the EU's Digital Decade goal to accelerate deployment and investment in future-proof infrastructures. In this context, it discusses the current state of full fibre and 5G mobile technology in the EU, including the challenges of attracting private investment, and explores new business models for network deployment. With 7 years left to reach the 2030 connectivity targets, it is paramount to understand where the EU stands in terms of future-proof network deployment, address the challenges and identify the opportunities that would help the EU telecom sector to thrive.
Authors : DE LUCA Stefano

'Sahelexit' in West Africa: Implications for ECOWAS and the EU

25-04-2024 762.295
Briefing
Summary : At the end of January 2024, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced their withdrawal (referred to as 'Sahelexit' by several media outlets) from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This withdrawal – with immediate effect according to the departing states, within a one-year deadline according to the ECOWAS Treaty – presents a complex set of challenges for the region. ECOWAS, initially designed to promote regional economic integration, has over the years adopted protocols to uphold democracy and good governance. On several occasions it has adopted sanctions against unconstitutional changes of government in its member states, like those that recently occurred in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger. However, these actions have had mixed results, with negative effects on most ECOWAS member states, hindering economic cooperation and increasing trade costs, thereby complicating regional integration efforts and increasing humanitarian crises. The three states presented their withdrawal as a reaction to sanctions. Despite the lifting of sanctions, the three states are still considering bringing their new Alliance of Sahelian States (AES) out of ECOWAS. The withdrawal will probably not mitigate the negative effects of the sanctions; it also risks weakening existing security mechanisms and international cooperation, already made fragile by the forced departure of UN and Western forces from these states, while Russian private military companies appear to be taking over in the three AES countries. The impact on the EU is manifold. The rising influence of Russia and other players, coupled with the increasingly negative perception of France in its former colonies, is already challenging the EU's clout in the region. EU security and migration strategies throughout West Africa depend significantly on the leverage of ECOWAS over its member states. As this leverage is reduced by the withdrawal of three of them, this could potentially escalate security risks and further destabilise neighbouring regions. Migration flows might become less controlled, potentially increasing irregular migration to Europe.
Authors : PICHON Eric

Electoral thresholds in European Parliament elections

25-04-2024 749.770
Briefing
Summary : An electoral threshold for the allocation of seats is the minimum percentage of votes that a political party or a coalition is required to collect in order to gain a seat in the legislative assembly. Thresholds are said to enable a better balance between governability and representativeness, by favouring the formation of stable majorities and avoiding excessive fragmentation of the legislative assembly. Thresholds are sometimes imposed by law, but in the absence of an explicit legal requirement, they can be the de facto result of the size of the constituency and the relevant electoral law determining the apportionment of seats between constituencies. Provisions for electoral thresholds are common in proportional electoral systems, which tend to favour multipartyism. Thresholds can, however, be problematic when they limit or impede the representation of regional parties and ethnic and linguistic minorities, for instance. The current European Electoral Act contains a set of common principles to be upheld by the different domestic laws applicable to the election of the European Parliament. The original act of 1976 did not contain any provisions on minimum thresholds. Following modifications introduced in 2002, Article 3 allows Member States to set a minimum threshold for the allocation of seats; this must not exceed 5 % of the votes cast. The electoral thresholds applied in the 2019 European elections ranged between 5 % of the valid votes cast, required in nine Member States (Czechia, France, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) and 1.8 %, required in Cyprus, while 14 Member States set no threshold. Italy, Austria and Sweden applied a 4 % threshold; and Greece 3 %. At the time of writing, it appears that these thresholds will still be applicable for the 2024 European elections. This updates and expands on a June 2023 EPRS briefing.
Authors : DEL MONTE Micaela, KOTANIDIS Silvia, DIAZ CREGO Maria, MILDEBRATH Hendrik Alexander

Towards new rules on transparency and targeting of political advertising

25-04-2024 733.592
Briefing
Summary : Political advertising is central to informing and influencing how people vote, and may affect citizens' perceptions of the legitimacy of their political system, mainly when published in the run-up to elections. Therefore, rules governing political advertising are vital to guaranteeing citizens' fundamental rights and the integrity of democratic processes. However, traditional campaigning regulations can be ineffective or difficult to enforce online, where new techniques are utilised to target potential voters, with tailored political messages based on large amounts of personal data revealing their preferences, demographic attributes and personality traits. To address the new challenges posed by political campaigns, the European Commission proposed a harmonised set of rules on the transparency and targeting of political advertising applicable to both online and offline political advertising. The Council adopted its mandate for negotiations in December 2022, and the Parliament its own mandate in February 2023. After lengthy deliberations, the co-legislators reached agreement in November 2023, and adopted the new regulation in early 2024. It entered into force on 9 April 2024, and most provisions will take effect on 10 October 2025. However, those ruling out discrimination by providers of political advertising services based on place of residence or establishment of the advertising European political party or sponsor thereof take effect immediately, i.e. in time for the 2024 European elections. Third edition of a briefing originally drafted by Maria Díaz Crego. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : BARANÍK Kamil

Holocaust, Shoah, Hurban: Naming and commemorating the unspeakable

25-04-2024 762.297
Briefing
Summary : The words and names used to refer to events are important; they shape people's understanding of the notions they refer to, fix events in the collective memory, and define the necessary acts of commemoration and remembrance. This process is particularly sensitive when it comes to the Nazi regime and the antisemitic atrocities it perpetrated. The Nazis' obsession with race had many dimensions and applied to a wide range of people whom they considered detrimental to racial purity, in terms of both ethnicity and physical and moral standards. These ideas found fertile soil in the age-old racial prejudices of antisemitism, and well-rooted discrimination against various minorities, such as Roma and Sinti, and homosexuals. When they came to power, the Nazis immediately put various measures in place, all aimed at the physical annihilation of all Jews, whether assimilated or not, practising or not, and wherever they were, even bringing them from the most remote areas to their purpose-built extermination camps. Their goal was the total destruction of Jewish culture and Judaism as a religion, and any trace of their existence. Various groups of Jews and non-Jews have designated this dark period in Jewish and European history by different names, evoking differing underlying notions and understandings of the conditions in which the events happened. It took a long time to decide how best to commemorate the victims. In today's Europe, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, distortion and trivialisation have grown exponentially, amplified by digital technologies and social media, as well as foreign interference and propaganda. The European Union (EU) therefore has a duty to step up its efforts to counter these toxic trends. It must make sure that its strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life and its efforts to promote Holocaust education are implemented across the Member States, so that Jewish communities can live in safety, and not be subjected to hatred, including through the distortion of history.
Authors : PASIKOWSKA-SCHNASS Magdalena

The EU strategy on Central Asia: Towards a new momentum?

25-04-2024 762.300
Briefing
Summary : In 2019, the EU updated its strategy on Central Asia, to take account of new developments and opportunities for partnership and cooperation – both with the region as a whole and with its five individual countries (C5), taking into account the differences between them and their interests and requirements. The strategy aims to support sustainable development based on democracy, good governance and human rights and to boost trade and investment between the EU and Central Asia. In 2022 and 2023, the Central Asian Heads of State and the President of the European Council held their first-ever high-level meetings, resulting in the preparation of a further joint roadmap for deepening ties between the EU and Central Asia. The first-ever EU–Central Asia leaders' summit is due to take place in 2024, formalising the C5 + EU cooperation at the highest political level, and will be an opportunity to match the EU's political relevance in the region with its status of major donor and investor. This intensification of high-level contacts reflects Central Asia's growing geostrategic importance in the light of further global developments. The changing geopolitical situation created after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, as well as the security threats derived from the West's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, have generated new challenges in the region, which have become, at the same time, opportunities for the Central Asian countries to emerge as regional political actors in their own right. The changes also provide further avenues for partnership and cooperation in areas such as energy, raw materials and connectivity, alongside a focus on human rights and democracy, where issues remain. The European Parliament has welcomed the intensification of high-level relations between the EU and Central Asia. In view of the region's growing geostrategic importance and common challenges, it strongly encourages the EU to step up its engagement and review the current strategy in order to update it in the light of recent geopolitical events.
Authors : CAPRILE ANNA, DELIVORIAS Angelos, SHREEVES Rosamund

Circularity of vehicles: Design, production, end of-life and waste management

25-04-2024 757.827
Briefing
Summary : The IA provides an integrated life cycle analysis of the benefits and costs/burdens of vehicles in the EU, from their design and production, to their end-of-life management. From a political and legal perspective, the choice of merging the revisions of two complex directives into one regulation, and the choice of the functioning of the internal market as sole legal basis seem duly justified in the IA. However, from a better regulation and transparency perspective, these choices entail considerable challenges. The definitions of both the problems and the objectives show some inconsistencies stemming from the complexity of the integrated issues at hand, which complicates the IA's intervention logic. In addition, the IA's narrative relies heavily on the results of complex 'custom made modelling' that structures the assessment, but whose analytical methods, underlying assumptions and limitations (and thus, uncertainties) are not always evident. This also affects the presentation and assessment of the 52 measures (featured under 16 options), which could have been more coherent and accessible. A wealth of important information, explanations and evidence is featured in the annexes and/or the studies supporting the IA, rather than in its main text. These caveats notwithstanding, the comparative assessment and the selection of the preferred option package appear to be thorough and well substantiated. Altogether, without questioning the quality and the findings of this rich IA, it may well indicate the limitations of this type of integrated life cycle analysis as an accessible support tool for policymakers, in particular when the expected (cumulated) costs and benefits stretch over a range of different large policy areas, sectors and stakeholder groups. It is worth highlighting the importance of having these inherent limitations in terms of accessibility and transparency in mind when setting up an IA process and drafting the IA.
Authors : KRAMER Esther

Plenary round-up – April II 2024

25-04-2024 762.301
At a Glance
Summary : In the final plenary session of this term, over 80 files were adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure. The April II 2024 session also saw a formal sitting marking the 20th anniversary of the 2004 EU enlargement. Leaders of all 10 accession states from that time were invited to speak before the Parliament, and discuss with young people from those countries born 20 years ago. Members debated the conclusions of the recent European Council meetings, in particular on a new European Competitiveness deal and the EU strategic agenda 2024-2029, the La Hulpe declaration on the future of social Europe, 'Forging a sustainable future together: economic, social and territorial challenges for a competitive, cohesive and inclusive Europe', and recent attempts to deny dictatorships and the risk of Europe returning to totalitarianism. On external relations, Members tackled the EU's response to the repeated killing of humanitarian aid workers, journalists and civilians by the Israel Defence Forces in the Gaza Strip, Iran's unprecedented attack against Israel, the need for de-escalation and an EU response, the use of Russian frozen assets to support Ukraine's victory and reconstruction, attempts to reintroduce a foreign agent law in Georgia and its restrictions on civil society, the EU-Egypt strategic and comprehensive partnership, the situation in Haiti, and pre-enlargement reforms and policy reviews.
Authors : FERGUSON CLARE, SOCHACKA KATARZYNA

La liberté d'entreprise, une perspective de droit comparé – France FR

25-04-2024 762.291
Study
Summary : Ce document s’intègre dans une série d’études qui, avec une perspective de droit comparé, visent à faire une présentation de la liberté d’entreprise dans différents ordres juridiques. Après avoir expliqué le droit positif et la jurisprudence d’application, le contenu, les limites et la possible évolution de cette liberté sont examinés. La présente étude a pour objet le cas de la France. La liberté d’entreprise n’est pas expressément reconnue par la Constitution française de 1958, mais elle bénéficie d’une reconnaissance depuis la décision constitutionnelle de 1982 relative aux nationalisations. Cette liberté est fortement encadrée. Elle s’épanouit dans le cadre d’un modèle économique caractérisé par l’interventionnisme des autorités publiques. La tradition colbertiste s’est toutefois adaptée et transformée. Indéniablement, des tendances libérales s’affirment, notamment en raison de la force obligatoire du droit de l’Union européenne.

Energy system infrastructures and investments in hydrogen - Including an impact analysis of Ukraine’s connection to the EU power grid

24-04-2024 754.208 ITRE
At a Glance
Summary : The original full study discusses the present and future of the European electricity and gas infrastructure, exploring production capacity scenarios and their impact on the electricity system (including the role of interconnections, transmission and distribution grids, prosumers, and storage). It also assesses the potential impact of renewable hydrogen development in terms of production and transport. Furthermore, it discusses Ukraine’s synchronisation with the EU power grid and its potential impact on the EU energy system. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
Linked documents

Study

Single Resolution Board: Accountability arrangements (9th parliamentary term)

24-04-2024 659.621 ECON
Briefing
Summary : This document provides an overview of public hearings and exchange of views with the Chair of the Single Resolution Board (SRB) in the ECON Committee since July 2019. It also provides an overview of all external papers requested by the ECON Committee by a standing panel of banking experts. Lastly, the annex contains an overview of the respective legal bases for these hearings as part of the accountability framework of the SRB. For an overview of public hearings during the 8th parliamentary term, please see here.
Authors : MAGNUS Marcel, SPITZER Kai Gereon

Political participation of people with disabilities in the EU

24-04-2024 747.889
Briefing
Summary : The opportunity to be involved in political life is at the heart of what it means to live in a democracy, whether by standing for elected office, joining a political party, or following political news in the media. People with disabilities are active citizens who are keen to participate given the right opportunities. However, legal, administrative, institutional and accessibility barriers can still prevent them from taking part in elections. To nurture democratic societies in which all members can participate fully, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union are striving for full inclusion of people with disabilities. Through its Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UN promotes the political participation of people with disabilities. Through its Charter of Fundamental Rights, the EU guarantees each and every citizen the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament and the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections. The European Commission's 2021 2030 strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities commits the EU and its Member States to making those rights a reality. With the European elections fast approaching in June 2024, the European Parliament is renewing its commitment to ensuring the equal participation of people with disabilities in this major European political event. This updates a briefing published in May 2023.
Authors : LECERF Marie

Timeline to new EU institutional leadership

24-04-2024 762.293
At a Glance
Summary : The June 2024 European elections are the focal point for a broader renewal of the leadership of all the European Union's main institutions. This timeline sets out the main steps up until the end of 2024, with likely timings.
Authors : SABBATI Giulio, KOTANIDIS Silvia

Energy system infrastructures and investments in hydrogen - Including an impact analysis of Ukraine’s connection to the EU power grid

24-04-2024 754.207 ITRE
Study
Summary : This study analyses the present and future of the European electricity and gas infrastructure, exploring production capacity scenarios and their impact on the electricity system (including the role of interconnections, transmission and distribution grids, prosumers, and storage). It also assesses the potential impact of renewable hydrogen development in terms of production and transport. Furthermore, it discusses Ukraine’s synchronisation with the EU power grid and its potential impact on the EU energy system. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
Linked documents

At a Glance

Single Supervisory Mechanism: Accountability arrangements (9th parliamentary term)

24-04-2024 659.623 ECON
Briefing
Summary : This document provides an overview of the public hearings of the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank in the ECON Committee during the 9th parliamentary term (since July 2019), and lists all research papers requested by the ECON Committee, which are in general provided by a standing panel of banking experts. The annex gives an overview of the respective legal bases for those hearings, which form part of the accountability framework of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM).
Authors : MAGNUS Marcel, SPITZER Kai Gereon

Protecting children in virtual worlds (the metaverse)

24-04-2024 762.294
At a Glance
Summary : While virtual worlds can boost children's creativity and motivation to learn and even help them heal from diseases, they also pose multiple challenges, not least regarding privacy and exposure to harmful and illegal content. Both the European Union (EU) and the private sector have taken steps to protect children in virtual worlds, but there is still much to be done to ensure that children are not exploited or harmed in this environment.
Authors : Niestadt Maria

Rules on 'revolving doors' in the EU: Post-mandate restrictions on members of EU institutions and parliamentarians in Member States

24-04-2024 762.290
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : The 'revolving doors' phenomenon has frequently caught media and public attention in recent years. This publication offers an overview of how the post term activities of members of the EU institutions –Commissioners and Members of the European Parliament, as opposed to staff members – are regulated by the EU institutions. The European Ombudsman has looked into the issue of revolving doors in the context of several individual cases; on a few occasions this has ended in an unsatisfactory outcome for the institution or body under investigation and prompted the European Ombudsman to make specific recommendations to avoid a repeat of maladministration in future cases. At EU level, almost all institutions place some restrictions on post-term activities, while a comparative overview of EU Member States shows that just a small number of them legislate for this aspect of the post-term activity of parliamentarians.
Authors : KOTANIDIS Silvia

Economic Dialogue with the other EU Institutions under the European Semester Cycles during the 9th legislative term - State of play April 2024

23-04-2024 624.436 ECON
Briefing
Summary : This document provides an overview of Economic Dialogues with the other institutions of the European Union that has taken place in the competent committee(s) of the European Parliament since September 2019 under the European Semester for economic policy coordination. It also lists the Recovery and Resilience Dialogues with the European Commission as undertaken by the competent committee(s) since the entry of force of the Recovery and Resilience Facility in 2021. It also includes an overview of the respective legal bases for these dialogues. During the 9th legislative term, the competent committees held 15 Recovery and Resilience Dialogues with the Commission, 10 Economic Dialogues with the Commission, 9 Economic Dialogues with the Council, and 6 Economic Dialogues with the Eurogroup.
Authors : HAGELSTAM Kajus

Artificial intelligence and cybersecurity

23-04-2024 762.292
At a Glance
Summary : Artificial intelligence (AI), which is being integrated into our daily lives at an overwhelming pace, has the potential to shape our digital landscape. As it can influence everything – from personal data security to national defence strategies – the issue of cybersecurity is becoming increasingly critical.
Authors : CAR POLONA

Briefing for the FEMM delegation to UN CSW 68 (18 – 22 March 2024)

23-04-2024 760.752 FEMM
At a Glance
Summary : The original briefing, prepared for the FEMM delegation to the 68th session of the UN CSW maps out the background for its priority theme, Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective. The briefing highlights the European Parliament's position on the priority theme and outlines as well the main EU policy and legislative initiatives with respect to fostering gender equality and fighting poverty in the Union. The briefing features as well EU measures with respect to gender budgeting and taxation, women's access to finance and European funding opportunities for gender equality
Authors : ROVENTA-GRIVEI GIORGIANA, CHIFAN Andreea Simona

Interoperable Europe Act

23-04-2024 745.711
Briefing
Summary : In November 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation laying down measures for a high level of public sector interoperability across the Union (the interoperable Europe act). The initiative seeks to ensure a consistent, human-centric EU approach to interoperability, create an interoperability governance structure that helps public administrations and the private sector to work together, and establish an ecosystem of interoperability solutions for the EU's public sector. It should also cut red tape for citizens and businesses. The Parliament adopted its position on the proposed regulation in September 2023, and the Council did so in October 2023. Shortly afterwards, in November 2023, the co-legislators reached a provisional agreement on the text. While maintaining the main points of the Commission proposal, the co legislators clarified several points such as the scope of the regulation, its objectives and the conditions of the mandatory interoperability assessment. On 6 February 2024, Parliament voted in favour of the agreed text in plenary. After it was adopted by the Council, the act was signed by the co-legislators and published in the Official Journal of the EU on 22 March 2024. It entered into force on 11 April. Most provisions apply from 12 July 2024. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages during the legislative procedure.
Authors : Niestadt Maria

Ukraine

23-04-2024 762.289
At a Glance
Summary : The EU is providing Ukraine with strong political and economic support, and future EU accession should support its reconstruction and modernisation, the cost of which is currently estimated at over €450 billion. This year's Ukraine Recovery Conference will seek to improve coordination and cooperation among its allies.
Authors : PRZETACZNIK Jakub
Summary : What rules will apply to the 2024 European elections? As the rules differ from Member State to Member State, this infographic provides information on various key provisions applicable in the forthcoming European elections (to be held in June 2024). In a one-page format, readers will find information on the election day in each country, the voting systems used and the number of MEPs to be elected in each Member State, and the minimum age to stand as a candidate, as well as on rules governing voting from outside the home Member State. With the total number of MEPs set to rise to 720, the infographic shows how the 15 additional seats will be distributed among Member States. Additional information and clarifications are provided on the second page of the infographic.
Authors : SABBATI Giulio, GROSEK Kristina

Briefing for the FEMM delegation to UN CSW 68 (18 – 22 March 2024)

22-04-2024 760.544 FEMM
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : This briefing contains background materials for the FEMM Committee mission to the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW 68), which focuses on the priority theme ‘Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective’. The briefing has been prepared by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee.
Authors : ROVENTA-GRIVEI GIORGIANA, CHIFAN Andreea Simona, SCHNEDL ALINA-THERESA

Digital public services in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans: Mid-term multilevel governance appraisal

22-04-2024 762.287
Briefing
Summary : This briefing analyses digital public services in the national recovery and resilience plans (NRRPs) from a multilevel governance perspective. It seeks to present the current state of affairs, examine how existing policy is working on the ground, and identify best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of the European system of multilevel governance. It presents an initial appraisal of available evidence and takes as its starting point digital public services in the NRRPs of Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Greece and Slovenia.
Authors : COLLOVA Claudio, LILYANOVA Velina

EU economic developments and projections

21-04-2024 645.716 ECON
Briefing
Summary : This briefing provides a summary of the recent economic developments in the EU Member States and gives an overview of relevant economic projections forecasted by major international and EU institutions. Annex 1 includes latest GDP data and forecasts for all EU Member States and Annex 2 the latest inflation data and developments.
Authors : SABOL MAJA, LOI GIACOMO

Investment in artificial intelligence in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans

21-04-2024 762.288
Briefing
Summary : The Next Generation EU recovery instrument, and in particular the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), with its target to dedicate at least 20 % of funding to the digital objectives, contribute significantly to one of EU's core priorities, the digital transformation. A number of reports acknowledge the RRF as a primary contributor to most of the Digital Decade targets, namely the digital transformation of businesses and public services, as well as building digital skills and infrastructure across the EU. This briefing aims to give a flavour of what Member States' national recovery and resilience plans (NRRPs) bring to boost investment and innovation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in particular. The first part provides background information on what the EU does (in terms of regulation and investment) to ensure its competitiveness in the field. The second part contains a set of country examples outlining selected measures from various NRRPs. AI is an advanced technology, and before unlocking all the opportunities it holds, Member States need to address barriers to its widespread uptake, such as regulatory issues, shortage of digitally skilled professionals, low digitalisation of companies and others. In a broad sense, all digital measures in the NRRPs help create enabling conditions allowing the development and uptake of more advanced digital innovations. Within the NRRPs, AI-related measures can fall under different categories: investment in research and development; digitalisation of businesses; digital public services; digital capacities; and deployment of advanced technologies. Some NRRPs (such as Spain's) envisage specific financing to boost AI development, while in others support is rather indirect. Overall, the NRRPs help pave the way for subsequent initiatives in developing AI. The RRF funds come on top of dedicated EU funding from other programmes, and although they will not suffice to close the investment gap in the field, they are a step towards boosting the EU's ambition.
Authors : LILYANOVA Velina

Compulsory licensing of patents for crisis management

21-04-2024 757.634
Briefing
Summary : The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for a resilient healthcare system but also for quick access to inventions and technologies in challenging situations. To address this need, in April 2023 the Commission submitted a proposal for a regulation on compulsory licensing for crisis management. The aim is to secure the rapid deployment of patent-protected inventions in times of crisis or emergency, without eroding patent protection as an incentive to innovate. The proposal lays down rules and procedures for granting Union compulsory licences and supervising the law's implementation. Views on the proposal diverge. Civil society organisations support a broad application of the compulsory licensing scheme, whereas industry organisations advocate narrow application. Opinions differ on 1) the need for legislative intervention; 2) the events authorising the use of compulsory licences; 3) whether compulsory licensing should be conditional on failed prior negotiations for voluntary licences; 4) whether the disclosure of know-how or trade secrets is warranted under certain circumstances; 5) at what level remuneration and sanctions should be capped; 6) how advisory bodies should be composed; 7) what role potential licensees should play in initiating and engaging in the compulsory licensing procedure. On 13 March 2024, Parliament voted its first-reading position ahead of future trilogue negotiations. Parliament insists on empowering the Commission to mandate the disclosure of relevant trade secrets and know-how, and on significantly strengthening the position of rights-holders. The Council is still preparing its position. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : MILDEBRATH Hendrik Alexander

EU cooperation with Latin America: Combating drug trafficking in the Andean region

21-04-2024 762.286
Briefing
Summary : The global supply of cocaine is at record levels: in just six years (from 2014 to 2020), cocaine production doubled and led to a 416 % increase in the European cocaine market. Almost all cocaine produced comes from the Andean region: With 61 % of total production, Colombia remains the world's biggest cultivator of coca, followed by Peru (26 %) and Bolivia (13 %). Political instability experienced in Andean countries in recent years goes hand in hand with a worsening public security situation and rising cocaine supplies. There has been a dramatic security deterioration, particularly in Ecuador, where the homicide rate rose from 13.7 per 100 000 people in 2021 to about 45 in 2023, placing Ecuador among the top three most violent countries in Latin America. Illicit drug trafficking is also affecting the EU as never before. In 2021, EU Member State authorities seized 303 tonnes of cocaine – the highest ever amount of cocaine confiscated in Europe. Today, the drug trade orchestrated by organised crime poses one of the most serious security threats to the EU. Almost 40 % of the criminal networks active in the EU are involved in the illegal drugs trade. Some 50 % of all homicides in Europe are connected to drug trafficking. Against this backdrop, the EU is stepping up its response and has established a series of instruments to fight organised crime, such as the EU security union strategy and the roadmap to fight drug trafficking and organised crime. Moreover, in 2023, the European Commission started negotiating international agreements on the exchange of personal data between Europol and a series of Latin American countries and launched the European Ports Alliance in January 2024. Cooperation on illegal drug-related issues has become a priority for the strategic partnership between the EU and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean states (CELAC).
Authors : JUTTEN Marc

Implementation mechanisms of the Human Rights Clause. Case studies on Ethiopia, Tunisia and Vietnam

21-04-2024 754.447 DROI
Study
Summary : On 14 February 2024, a workshop was organised on behalf of the Subcommittee on Human Rights on the effective implementation of the human rights clauses found in the EU’s international agreements. The workshop, firstly, examined best practices available, such as benchmarking and impact assessments as well as monitoring, evaluation and enforcement, highlighting possible improvements for the human rights clause implementation. Representative examples from the existing agreements were given to pinpoint best practices that could guide future reforms. Secondly, academic and civil society experts analysed the effectiveness of human rights clauses through the case studies covering the EU’s agreements with Ethiopia, Tunisia and Vietnam.

Retail investor package

21-04-2024 749.795
Briefing
Summary : On 24 May 2023, the European Commission put forward a package of two proposals to amend existing directives and a regulation with a view to fostering retail investor information transparency and ensuring that investment decisions are best for investors. The objective is to enhance trust and confidence, thereby increasing retail investor participation in financing the economy. The package is mostly concerned with clarity in communication and the prevention of misleading marketing. It also seeks to mitigate potential conflicts of interest for advisers and increase retail investments' value for money. In the European Parliament, the file was referred to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), which adopted its reports on 20 March 2024. The committee decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations was announced in the April I 2024 part-session. Parliament is expected to vote on its first-position reading during the April II part-session. Discussions at the Council are ongoing. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : HALLAK ISSAM

'This is Europe' debates in the European Parliament, 2022-2024

21-04-2024 757.817
Briefing
Summary : In a series of 'This is Europe' debates, from 2022 to 2024, many EU Heads of State or Government have addressed the European Parliament, to present their vision for Europe and its future. Touching on past and present crises, they have outlined the policy areas that they believe the EU should concentrate on in the future. While every speaker has had their own focus, there have been six recurring themes: (i) the value of EU membership; (ii) the importance of defending EU values; (iii) the main challenges facing the EU; (iv) the need to deliver for EU citizens; (v) the next steps in EU integration; and (vi) the importance of EU unity. While offering a unique analysis of all of these contributions, this briefing outlines the main messages, the key topics, and similarities and differences between the various speakers. It also examines the focus of participants based on party political affiliation and provides a comparison with the previous debates on the future of Europe with EU Heads of State or Government, in 2018-2019.
Authors : DRACHENBERG Ralf

Outcome of the special European Council meeting of 17-18 April 2024

21-04-2024 757.821
Briefing
Summary : The special meeting of 17-18 April was the last European Council meeting before the European elections on 6-9 June. The EU Heads of State or Government concentrated on competitiveness, the situation in the Middle East and the war in Ukraine. The discussions on competitiveness – informed by a report by former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on the future of the internal market – were lengthy and difficult. Whereas EU leaders agreed on the need for a new European competitiveness deal, the outcome was less ambitious on measures towards convergence of the business environment and more centralised supervision of financial markets. On Ukraine, the most salient topics discussed were the provision of air defence for Ukraine and of ammunition more generally, and the use of frozen Russian assets. On the Middle East, EU leaders condemned the Iranian attack on Israel, reiterated their previous statements on Palestine, called for be avoidance of further escalation of tensions in the region, and committed to increase support for Lebanon.
Authors : DRACHENBERG Ralf

Corporate Social Responsibility

21-04-2024 762.537 JURI
Briefing
Summary : European Parliament has been an active agenda-setter and initiator of several calls to regulate corporate social responsibility (CSR). On 10 March 2021, Parliament called the Commission to prescribe sustainability duties for companies established in the European Union or governed by EU law. Building on Parliament’s resolution, in February 2023 the Commission published a legislative proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. On 19 March 2024, the JURI Committee adopted the text with 20 votes for, 4 against, and no abstentions. Parliament will vote on the text of the directive during the April II plenary. European Parliament is supported in its work by expertise and evidence prepared by the EP Policy Departments. This collection of studies presents the most relevant studies and factsheets on corporate social responsibility prepared by Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs for JURI Committee.
Authors : MACIEJEWSKI Mariusz, MOȘ ALEXANDRU-GEORGE

The six policy priorities of the von der Leyen Commission: An end-of-term assessment

19-04-2024 762.283
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : This EPRS paper analyses how the European Commission has delivered on the policy agenda set by its President, Ursula von der Leyen, and her College of Commissioners when they took office in December 2019, and by further commitments taken over the years to address new issues, crises and challenges. It provides an end-of-term assessment of the delivery of the agenda's six key priorities, on the eve of the ninth legislature's last plenary session, two months before the 2024 European elections. The von der Leyen Commission has announced a total of 661 planned initiatives. In concrete terms, EPRS finds that four out of five (526) have now been submitted and, for those which are legislative proposals, the co-legislators have started work. Of the 526, more than half (301) have already been adopted by the co-legislators, or, for the non-legislative initiatives (such as strategies, action plans and other communications, amounting to around one fifth of the total), by the Commission itself. A further 97 (18 %) are close to adoption, with some of them likely to be adopted still during this legislature. The remainder (102, or 19 %) are still proceeding normally through the legislative process and will not reach adoption under this term. While the Commission's first priority – the European Green Deal – ranks highest in terms of the number of initiatives planned (167), the other priorities – 'A Europe fit for the digital age', 'An economy that works for people', 'A stronger Europe in the world', 'Promoting our European way of life', and 'A new push for European democracy' – have higher rates of initiatives actually adopted (from 52 % to 60 %, and 82 % for the fourth, largely due, for the latter, to its less legislative nature).
Authors : BASSOT Etienne

European Parliament: Facts and figures

19-04-2024 760.403
Briefing
Summary : This briefing, published by the European Parliamentary Research Service, aims to provide a broad range of key facts and figures about the European Parliament. Its many graphics offer a picture of the Parliament's Members and the institution's structures and activity in the current parliamentary term (July 2019 to June 2024) and in previous five-year terms since direct elections were introduced in June 1979.
Authors : SABBATI Giulio

Revision of EU air quality legislation: Setting a zero pollution objective for air

18-04-2024 747.087
Briefing
Summary : Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in the EU and causes significant damage to ecosystems. As part of the European Green Deal's zero pollution ambition, on 26 October 2022 the European Commission tabled a proposal for a revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives. The proposed directive would set air quality standards for 2030 that are more closely aligned with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, as updated in 2021. It would also include a mechanism for the standards' regular review based on the latest scientific information. To achieve them on time, the Member States would have to establish air quality plans ahead of 2030. Provisions on air quality monitoring and assessment would be updated, including through new requirements for monitoring pollutants of emerging concern, such as ultrafine particles. Stakeholders' reactions to the proposal have been mixed. Non-governmental organisations call for full alignment with the WHO guidelines by 2030 at the latest, and for penalties if the 2030 deadline is missed. Industry representatives insist on the need to meet current standards first, before aiming for higher ones. The European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the file on 20 February 2024. The text, approved in March by Member States representatives in the Council and by Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, now requires formal adoption by the co-legislators. Parliament is expected to vote on the final text during its second April 2024 part-session. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : HALLEUX Vivienne

The United Kingdom and artificial intelligence

18-04-2024 762.285
At a Glance
Summary : The United Kingdom (UK) has so far taken a light-touch regulatory approach to its strong artificial intelligence (AI) sector. While the lack of horizontal laws may create a complicated legislative patchwork, the government argues that this is conducive to innovation and agile technology. With its new broad AI Act, the EU has taken a different path, but despite diverging approaches there are some promising signs for future cooperation.
Authors : SZCZEPANSKI Marcin

Reducing microplastic pollution from plastic pellet losses

18-04-2024 760.442
Briefing
Summary : Once dispersed in the environment, microplastic particles under 5 mm in size are extremely difficult to remove and very persistent. Today, they are present in the air, soil, freshwater, seas, oceans, plants and animals, and in several components of the human diet. Human exposure to microplastic particles is therefore widespread, raising concerns about potential health impacts. The EU has committed to addressing microplastic pollution in two action plans –on the new circular economy and on zero pollution for air, water and soil – both of which are part of the European Green Deal. On 16 October 2023, the European Commission proposed a regulation to tackle microplastic pollution resulting from losses of plastic pellets – the industrial raw materials used to make plastic products. These losses are the third largest source of unintentional microplastic releases into the EU environment. The proposal would apply to all economic operators handling plastic pellets in the EU in quantities above 5 tonnes per year, as well as to EU and non-EU carriers transporting plastic pellets within the EU. It would set requirements for best handling practices, mandatory certification and self-declaration, and provide for the development of a harmonised methodology to estimate losses. Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), responsible for the file, adopted its legislative report on 19 March 2024. The text awaits a vote during the second April 2024 plenary session, with a view to establishing Parliament's position at first reading. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : HALLEUX Vivienne

Legal fiction of non-entry in EU asylum policy

18-04-2024 760.347
Briefing
Summary : The fiction of 'non-entry' is a claim that states use in border management to deny the legal arrival of third-country nationals on their territory, regardless of their physical presence, until granted entry by a border or immigration officer. It is usually applied in transit zones at international airports between arrival gates and passport control, signifying that the persons who have arrived have not yet entered the territory of the destination country. Although physically present, they are not considered to have legally entered the country's official territory until they have undergone the necessary clearance. In the EU, all Member States make use of the fiction of non-entry in transit zones at ports of entry, but usually in a non-asylum context. In 2018, Germany was one of the first Member States to extend this concept to include land crossings. Since the mass arrival of asylum-seekers in 2015-2016, other Member States too have increasingly looked into ways of using this claim to inhibit asylum-seekers' entry to their territory and thereby avoid the obligation under international law to provide them with certain protection and aid. This, however, may lead to a risk of refoulement, as the fiction of non-entry limits asylum-seekers' movement and access to rights and procedures, including the asylum procedure. This is a revised edition of a briefing published in March 2024.
Authors : ORAV Anita

Teachers: Key to achieving the European education area

18-04-2024 762.284
Briefing
Summary : Teachers play an essential role in providing high-quality education and making education a rewarding experience for all learners. This makes teachers key to achieving a true European education area (EEA) that offers improved access to quality education and lifelong learning for all. However, the current shortage of teachers is a widespread issue across the European Union (EU). Not only is the teaching workforce ageing but the profession has become less attractive owing to factors such as challenging working conditions and perceived low societal recognition. Teacher shortages are more acute in certain subjects, specialisations and geographic areas. There is also a significant gender disparity in the teaching profession at various educational levels across the EU. Against this backdrop, the 2023 Education and Training Monitor – the European Commission's annual report on EU education and training systems – put a spotlight on the teaching profession, focusing in particular on teacher shortages across the Member States. The report noted that, while shortages are an increasing concern, reinforcing the teaching profession's attractiveness requires a balanced policy approach to both teacher recruitment and teacher retention. While the organisation and content of education fall under the responsibility of the Member States, the EU is working on boosting the prestige of the teaching profession and has launched several initiatives to offer professional education and development opportunities to educators. Examples include providing EU-level guidance on various topics relating to the teaching profession, establishing the Erasmus+ teacher academies that create communities of practice, and promoting cross-border teacher mobility. Over the years, the European Parliament has expressed continued support for teachers and for making the teaching profession more attractive. In February 2024, it held a plenary debate on the working conditions of teachers in the EU, with the participation of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Authors : BINDER Krisztina

European health data space

18-04-2024 733.646
Briefing
Summary : The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the growing importance of digital health technologies, both to enable remote medical care and to facilitate the health response from international, national and local authorities. The European Commission's May 2022 proposal for a regulation on a European health data space aims to improve individuals' access to and control over their electronic personal data (primary use), while facilitating data re-use for the good of society across the EU (secondary use). The proposal establishes a set of rules, infrastructure and governance mechanisms to promote the primary and secondary use of electronic health data, while ensuring data protection and strengthening cybersecurity. The Commission expects the initiative to have a broad socio-economic impact. Its success is thought to depend not only on the capacity to implement the legal base effectively, but also on broader conditions such as EU-wide connectivity, social trust and digital skills. The European Parliament's Committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted their joint report on 28 November 2023. The Council adopted its general approach on 6 December 2023. Parliament voted the report in plenary on 13 December. ENVI and LIBE endorsed the agreement resulting from interinstitutional negotiations on 9 April 2024. It is due to be put to the vote during the April II 2024 plenary session. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : EVROUX CLEMENT THIERRY

Unitary supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products

17-04-2024 762.281
Briefing
Summary : The supplementary protection certificate (SPC) is a specific intellectual property right that extends the basic patent's market exclusivity for plant protection products. The unitary patent became operational in the EU on 1 June 2023, unifying patent protection in all participating Member States. Despite this significant change, SPCs, which are inseparable from patent protection, remain regulated at national level. This fragmented regulatory approach has proven ineffective, leading to excessive administrative costs for SPC applicants, who have to navigate the national laws of each Member State where they seek SPC protection. To address this issue, on 27 April 2023 the Commission submitted a proposal for a regulation introducing a unitary SPC for plant protection products as a complement to the protection offered by the unitary patent. This proposal, coupled with a parallel proposal for an SPC for plant protection products of the same date, seeks to harmonise the process of granting SPCs for plant protection products in the single market. In Parliament, the proposal was assigned to the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), with Tiemo Wölken (S&D, Germany) as rapporteur. Following the approval of the reports on the two proposals by the Parliament plenary at first reading, Parliament adopted its position for the interinstitutional negotiations. The Council has yet to agree on its negotiating mandate. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : BARANÍK Kamil

The impact of climate change on cultural heritage

17-04-2024 762.282
Briefing
Summary : Climate change, a global phenomenon, affects every aspect of our lives, including cultural heritage in both its forms – tangible and intangible. Extreme weather conditions expose these important elements of our cultural identity to serious threats. These threats must be addressed to protect valuable sites and preserve them for future generations. Research on climate change is not a novelty, but climate change as it relates to cultural heritage is a relatively new area of exploration and policy. The impact of climate change on cultural heritage made its way to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Madrid in 2019 (COP25) and has become increasingly visible at subsequent COPs. In 2003, the European Commission became the first European Union institution to launch a research project addressing the intersection of climate change and cultural heritage. Since then, the EU has expanded the scope and scale of its projects in this policy area. The EU's competence in cultural policy is limited to providing funds, which it does in the areas of cooperation, networking, exchange of best practices, research and education. Despite this limitation, EU level policies offer a broad perspective, much needed given the interdisciplinary and global nature of this issue. The dual challenge of climate change and protection of cultural heritage does not often feature clearly in European Parliament resolutions or European Commission policy documents. However, policy instruments are indeed available, and an integrated approach including not only economic, but also social, environmental, sustainability and identity dimensions of this complex issue is well underway.
Authors : PASIKOWSKA-SCHNASS Magdalena

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights April 2024

At a Glance
Authors : OSTANSKA KINGA, SANDERSKI ANDRZEJ

Recovery and Resilience Dialogue with the European Commission 22 April 2024

16-04-2024 755.741 ECON
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Gentiloni are invited to the 15th Recovery and Resilience Dialogue (RRD) under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) Regulation. The previous RRD took place on 5 February 2024. This briefing comments on the Commission’s RRF midterm review in section 1, focuses on some of the Commission’s recent preliminary assessments related to payment requests submitted by Czechia, Denmark, and Malta in section 2, summarises the state of play of the implementation of the RRF in section 3, touches on the EPPO annual report and recent cases of RRF fraud in section 4, sets out an analysis of the 100 largest recipients of RRF funds per Member State in section 5, and comments on the impact of NGEU related interest payments in section 6.
Authors : SCHWARCZ András, PADILLA OLIVARES FRANCISCO JAVIE, MAGNUS Marcel, LOI GIACOMO

Collection of studies prepared by Policy Department C for the PEGA Committee

16-04-2024 761.472 PEGA
Briefing
Summary : Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware (PEGA) was set up on 10 March 2022. Chaired by MEP Jeroen LENAERS, PEGA Committee investigated infringements and maladministration in application of EU law in relation to the use of Pegasus and equivalent spyware surveillance software. Spyware and other hacking techniques are critical threats to privacy, data protection and democracy in the EU. They serve oppressive agendas against journalists, political activists and human rights defenders. On 8 May 2023, PEGA Committee adopted its final report (Rapporteur: MEP Sophia IN 'T VELD), after 14 months of hearings, studies and fact-finding missions. Following the PEGA Committee’s report, on 15 June 2023, the European Parliament adopted its recommendation calling on the European Commission, the Council, European Ombudsman, the Europol and a number of Member States for a number of actions.
Authors : MACIEJEWSKI Mariusz, ABRIL MARTI PABLO

The WTO's negotiating function: Towards plurilaterals and new trade challenges

16-04-2024 760.443
Briefing
Summary : A key function of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is to serve for its members as a forum for the negotiation of global trade rules. However, since the WTO's foundation in 1995, WTO members have largely failed to meet their self-defined negotiating objectives as set out in the comprehensive 2001 Doha Development Agenda (DDA). By the time of the 2024 Abu Dhabi Ministerial Conference, WTO members had settled on merely two multilateral agreements in almost 30 years: a 2013 agreement on trade facilitation and a partial agreement on fisheries subsidies, concluded in 2022. As some of the DDA's trade liberalisation items were dropped and negotiations on other items have stalled, sub-sets of WTO members have found other ways to craft new trade rules outside the WTO: either through bilateral or regional preferential trade agreements or through plurilateral trade negotiations, leading to the fragmentation of rules and questioning of the WTO's legitimacy. Modelled on the successful conclusion in 1997 of the first WTO plurilateral agreement eliminating tariffs on information technology, groups of WTO members led by developed countries set up two separate tracks of plurilateral talks on liberalising trade in services and in environmental goods in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Both stalled in 2016 and virtually ended market access-enhancing efforts within the WTO. In 2017, a group of members launched three initiatives – on domestic services regulation, investment facilitation and e-commerce – to re-invigorate the WTO's negotiating function. The initiatives marked a shift from a new market access-seeking approach to an approach prioritising trade and investment facilitation with a strong development dimension. Albeit more successful, their incorporation into the WTO legal architecture has been challenging given opposition from some members. If opposition were overcome, plurilaterals could be a means of multilateralising new trade rules, as was the case for the 'codes of conduct' under the pre-WTO GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) regime by 1995. To retain legitimacy and relevance, experts suggest that the WTO could do more to leverage its role as a forum for deliberating emerging issues, such as plastics pollution, trade and gender, green and fossil fuel subsidies, trade and industrial policies, carbon border mechanisms and regulatory action, for sustainable trade towards concrete negotiated outcomes.
Authors : GRIEGER Gisela