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The European Council's role at the start of the new EU institutional cycle

10-06-2024 757.829
Summary : The European Union's institutional cycle begins anew every five years with the elections to the European Parliament. This is a crucial moment, as it updates both the hardware (the institutional leadership) and the software (the political priorities) of the EU. The European Council, composed of the Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, plays a significant role in both processes. Not only is it directly or indirectly involved in the choice of who fills most of the top EU positions, it also establishes the EU's long-term political priorities through setting its Strategic Agenda. This briefing outlines the EU's institutional cycle and highlights the European Council's role in this cycle in institutional terms. It also describes the processes involved in the allocation of EU top institutional jobs and the adoption of the EU's long-term priorities.
Authors : DRACHENBERG Ralf

European Media Freedom Act

10-06-2024 739.202
Summary : An independent media is a pillar of democracy and an important part of the economy, helping to shape public opinion and hold those in power to account. In recent years, however, there have been increasingly worrying trends across the EU, as documented in the annual rule of law reports by the European Commission, and by other tools such as the Media Pluralism Monitor. The European Media Freedom Act introduces a new set of rules to promote media pluralism and independence across the EU. The aim is to prevent political interference in editorial decisions and ensure transparency of media ownership. The act seeks to protect journalists from having to disclose their sources and from the use of spyware against them. It also sets requirements for audience measurement systems and transparent allocation of state advertising. Media content should be better protected against online content removal, and a new European board for media services will be established. The Council and Parliament reached a political agreement on 15 December 2023. The Council (at Coreper level) endorsed the agreed text on 19 January 2024. Parliament adopted the text during its plenary session of 13 March 2024. The regulation will apply from 8 August 2025, with some exceptions for certain articles. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages in the legislative procedure.
Authors : LAANINEN Tarja

Minimum breaks and rest periods in occasional road passenger transport

10-06-2024 754.641
Summary : Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on minimum breaks and rest periods for road freight and passenger transport drivers does not take into account the nature of occasional bus and coach services or the specific needs of their drivers. To address this situation, the European Commission has proposed amendments to this legislation in order to introduce more flexible rules regarding the splitting up of breaks and the scheduling of daily and weekly rest periods. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) was responsible for the file. The TRAN report was adopted in committee on 16 November 2023 and voted in plenary on 12 December 2023. Interinstitutional negotiations resulted in a provisional agreement, which was approved in the TRAN committee on 14 February 2024 and voted during Parliament's March plenary session. The final act was signed on 24 April and the regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 2 May 2024. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : KISS Monika

Plant reproductive material

10-06-2024 754.645
Summary : On 24 April 2024, the European Parliament adopted its first reading position on the proposal for a regulation on the production and marketing of plant reproductive material (PRM). Put forward by the European Commission on 5 July 2023, the proposal would replace the 10 PRM directives that currently lay down the rules for seeds, tubers, cuttings, seedlings and young plants. The proposal would introduce sustainability requirements for registering new varieties of agricultural plants, vegetables and fruits intended for professional users, while PRM intended for amateur gardeners and conservation organisations – such as seed banks – would be exempt from many of the requirements. There would be less stringent conditions for registering conservation varieties that are adapted to specific local conditions, and the requirements for organic PRM would be adjusted and tested under organic conditions. Exchange of seed in kind between farmers would be allowed in small quantities. Parliament proposes several changes, including exempting gene banks from the rules and allowing farmers to sell their seeds. The work in the Council is ongoing. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : SAJN Nikolina

Critical raw materials act

10-06-2024 747.898
Summary : The EU's ambition to become a climate-neutral economy by 2050, and its ability to sustain the green and digital transition and achieve strategic autonomy, all rely heavily on reliable, secure and resilient access to critical raw materials (CRMs). On 16 March 2023, the Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on CRMs. It introduced the concept of strategic raw materials (SRMs), which are key for some strategic technologies and vulnerable to shortages. The general objective of the proposed regulation was to improve the functioning of the single market by establishing a framework to ensure the EU's access to a secure and sustainable supply of CRMs. To achieve this, the regulation would pursue four specific objectives: strengthening the whole SRM value chain; diversifying the EU's imports of SRMs (so that by 2030, no third country would provide more than 65 % of the EU's annual consumption of each SRM); improving the EU's ability to monitor and mitigate the CRM supply risk; ensuring the free movement of CRMs and products containing CRMs placed on the EU market, and ensuring a high level of environmental protection, by improving their circularity and sustainability. On 13 November 2023, the Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal. The regulation was published in the Official Journal on 3 May 2024, and entered into force on 23 May 2024. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages in the legislative procedure.
Authors : RAGONNAUD Guillaume

High common level of cybersecurity at the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union

10-06-2024 733.625
Summary : The digital transformation is making the EU institutions and administration more vulnerable to cyber threats and incidents. Their number has surged dramatically in recent years: there were as many incidents during the first half of 2021 as in the whole of 2020, for instance. Yet an analysis of 20 Union institutions, bodies and agencies showed that their governance, preparedness, cybersecurity capability and maturity varied substantially, weakening the system. This regulation puts in place a common framework to ensure that similar cybersecurity rules and measures are applied within all Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, to bolster their resilience and incident-response capacities and rapidly improve the existing situation. In the European Parliament, the file was assigned to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). The report was adopted unanimously in the ITRE meeting on 9 March 2023. The committee's decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations was confirmed by the plenary on 15 March 2023. A provisional agreement was reached on 26 June 2023, and confirmed at the ITRE meeting on 18 September 2023. Parliament's plenary adopted the text on 21 November 2023, and the Council on 13 December 2023. The regulation entered into force on 7 January 2024. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages in the legislative procedure.

Social and labour market impact of the green transition

10-06-2024 762.329
Summary : The European Union's (EU) climate policies, part of the European Green Deal put forward by the von der Leyen Commission, will have profound consequences for other policy areas. During the 2019-2024 legislative term of the European Parliament, the EU adopted an overarching objective to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This entails changing the way energy is produced and consumed in the EU, with knock-on effects for individual citizens, households, and businesses. This briefing explores and maps out some of the social consequences of the Green Deal, focusing in particular on the effect the green transition will have on labour markets. It also touches briefly on the housing and transport sectors. The briefing's purpose is to offer an overview of the most important impacts in these areas, without pretending to be a full study. For reasons of brevity, it leaves out or touches only briefly on other important dimensions, such as education and gender. While insufficient action in the face of climate change would lead to significant costs as well as severe consequences for human life and the natural environment, the design of climate policies poses distributional challenges for individuals, and at a systemic level for different regions and industrial sectors. While studies on the Green Deal's labour market consequences are often limited to the aggregate level, this 'macro' perspective can hide significant regional and sectoral diversity. Existing EU funds and instruments have been designed to buffer against negative social consequences, particularly by providing upskilling opportunities, but their scope and size is limited. As the EU has only relatively limited competences in the area of social policy, significant policy action at national and regional level is unavoidable. The convergence and coordination of policy and funding instruments is crucial. Success or failure of regional, national, and European responses will be determined by the ability of policymakers to set up an integrated policy framework comprising social, labour market and industrial policy elements.
Authors : BOEHM Lasse

Updating the European digital identity framework

10-06-2024 698.772
Summary : In 2021, the European Commission put forward a proposal to update the European digital identity framework. This would allow citizens across the EU to identify and authenticate themselves online (through their European digital identity wallet), share digital documents, and prove a specific identity attribute such as age. In parallel, the Commission adopted a recommendation to design a toolbox supporting the framework, to avoid fragmentation and barriers owing to diverging standards. After the European Parliament and the Council of the EU approved their negotiating positions on the proposal in March 2023 and December 2022 respectively, they reached a provisional agreement on the creation of a pan-European digital identity framework in November 2023. On 29 February 2024, Parliament endorsed 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 30 April 2024. It entered into force on 20 May 2024. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : NEGREIRO ACHIAGA Maria Del Mar, Niestadt Maria

EU-Angola Sustainable Investment Facilitation Agreement

09-06-2024 762.328
At a Glance
Summary : On 4 March 2024, the Council adopted a decision to conclude the first-ever sustainable investment facilitation agreement between the EU and a third country, Angola. The aim is to make investment easier and more sustainable by promoting transparency, streamlining procedures and encouraging responsible business practices.

Amendments to AIFMD and UCITSD: Managing risks and protecting investors

09-06-2024 729.321
Summary : Two European Union (EU) directives regulate the EU collective investment funds industry: the Directive relating to undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) and the Alternative Investment Funds Manager Directive (AIFMD). The UCITS Directive, which covers mutual funds, lays down uniform rules, allowing them to be offered cross-border, while the AIFMD, which covers hedge funds and private equity, lays down the rules for authorising, supervising and overseeing the managers of such funds. While reviewing the application of the scope of the AIFMD (as mandated), the European Commission considered that a number of issues highlighted in the AIFMD review were equally relevant for the activities of UCITS. As a result, it proposed to amend both directives, to better align their requirements. The Council agreed on its general approach in June 2022. Within the European Parliament, the file was assigned to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). It adopted its report in February 2023, and Parliament confirmed the committee's decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations in plenary the same month. The co-legislators reached a provisional agreement in July 2023. The final directive was published in the Official Journal on 26 March 2024 and entered into force 20 days later. Fourth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Angelos Delivorias. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Forest reproductive material

09-06-2024 757.640
Summary : On 24 April 2024, the European Parliament adopted its first reading position on the proposal for a regulation on the production and marketing of forest reproductive material (FRM). The proposal, put forward by the European Commission on 5 July 2023, would replace the current FRM Council Directive and widen its scope to include not only FRM for forestry purposes, but also FRM intended for biodiversity conservation, restoration of forest ecosystems and climate adaptation and mitigation. The proposed legislation would specify the rules for the production and marketing of FRM intended for conserving forest genetic resources and would, for the first time, require that potential buyers be provided with information on the suitability of FRM for current and future climatic and ecological conditions. Member States would have to establish contingency plans to ensure a sufficient supply of FRM in cases of extreme weather events, wildfires and disease and pest outbreaks. Parliament's first reading position proposes to improve the traceability of FRM and make the information for end users more easily accessible via a QR code. In the Council, the proposal is being examined by the working party on genetic resources and innovation in agriculture. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : SAJN Nikolina

Newly proposed rules to strengthen GDPR enforcement in cross-border cases

09-06-2024 757.612
Summary : Ever since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became applicable in May 2018, the European Parliament and civil society organisations have been flagging deficits in its enforcement and pushing for better implementation, but little has changed. To address the situation, in July 2023 the European Commission tabled a proposal aimed at improving GDPR enforcement. The proposal seeks to support the smooth functioning and timely completion of enforcement procedures in cases of cross-border processing. To this end, the Commission suggests harmonising parties' procedural rights, streamlining and frontloading cooperation among supervisory authorities, and detailing the GDPR's dispute resolution mechanism. Views on the Commission proposal diverge. Digital rights organisations advocate for enhanced complainant rights, an equal say for the lead supervisory authority and the supervisory authorities concerned (CSAs) on the substance of enforcement decisions, a stronger role for the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), new mechanisms to facilitate cross-country enforcement, and stricter deadlines. Industry and allied organisations favour increased transparency for the parties under investigation, a stronger role for the lead supervisory authority and lesser roles for the supervisory authorities concerned and the EDPB. Parliament adopted its first-reading position at its plenary session of 10 April 2024. It insisted on strengthening the role of complainants, CSAs and the EDPB. At the Council, work on the proposal is still ongoing. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages in the legislative procedure.
Authors : MILDEBRATH Hendrik Alexander

FASTER – Faster and safer tax excess relief

09-06-2024 751.436
Summary : When an EU resident makes an investment in securities in another Member State, the payments received in return (dividends or interest) are normally subject to a withholding tax in the country of the investment (source country), before being subject to tax in the resident's country. In order to eliminate double taxation, the investor has to submit a refund claim on the excess tax withheld by the source country. These relief procedures are cumbersome, unharmonised, and often paper-based, discouraging investors from making investments in another EU Member State, to the detriment of capital markets union and growth of EU businesses. The system also leaves room for fraudsters to claim refunds on taxes they never paid in the first place. To address this issue, the European Commission tabled the FASTER proposal in June 2023. Under the proposal, Member States would be given a choice between applying either a 'relief at source' system and/or a 'quick refund' system, with both procedures accelerating and facilitating withholding tax relief for the investor, thereby promoting cross-border investment in the EU. In addition, a number of safeguards to stop tax abuse, in particular cum-ex fraud, are introduced. The proposal is subject to the special legislative procedure, where the Council must adopt the directive unanimously after consulting the Parliament and the EESC. However, as the text agreed by the Council in May 2024 differs considerably from that of the Commission proposal, Parliament will need to be consulted anew, once the 10th parliamentary term begins. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : BAERT Pieter

Secondary movements of asylum-seekers in the EU asylum system

06-06-2024 762.326
Summary : Secondary movements occur when refugees or asylum-seekers move from the country in which they first arrived, to seek protection or for permanent resettlement elsewhere. While most asylum-seekers seek protection in countries close to their countries of origin, some are compelled or choose to move onwards (often in an irregular manner) from or through countries in which they have already, or could have sought, international protection, to other countries, where they may request such protection. Many different factors may influence these movements and the decision to settle in a particular country. While asylum-seekers in the EU may have very legitimate reasons for seeking asylum in a Member State other that responsible for examining their asylum application, secondary movements are seen as a challenge for migration management in the EU. Although no genuine data are available that would provide reliable information about the scale of the phenomenon at the level of EU countries, some of the existing databases can give an indication of the travel routes relating to asylum-seekers' secondary movements. The aim of the common European asylum system's current instruments has been to limit secondary movements of applicants for international protection between EU Member States. However, the increased inflow of asylum-seekers to Europe in the past decade has shown that the system has been unable to discourage secondary movements. For this purpose, among others, in 2016 and 2020 the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform in order to harmonise asylum rules and introduce a range of new measures on asylum policy that would address such movements.
Authors : RADJENOVIC Anja

Parliamentary scrutiny of the SRB - Discretion in applying the resolution objectives and mechanisms for accountability to Parliament

06-06-2024 755.734 ECON
Summary : The Single Resolution Board (SRB) possesses statutory, formal independence by law, and its decisions are guided by a set of objectives whose application requires interpretation and trade-offs. The resulting discretion is balanced by accountability to the EU Institutions, and in particular, to the European Parliament. To support parliamentary scrutiny of the SRB during the 10th parliamentary term, this briefing presents the provisions on accountability in the SRB’s founding legislation and analyses the objectives that the SRB has to pursue - and against which its actions can be judged.
Authors : MAGNUS Marcel, SPITZER Kai Gereon

EU–Central America Association Agreement

06-06-2024 762.327
At a Glance
Summary : In April 2024, 12 years after the EU and Central America signed an association agreement (AA), the Council finally adopted a decision to conclude the agreement. Belgium was the last EU Member State to ratify the agreement, on 17 January 2024. This was the final step of the ratification process, which allows for the full implementation of the agreement (since 1 May 2024) with the Central American region consisting of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Full entry into force could give considerable impetus to bi regional relations, as the AA's three fundamental parts – political dialogue, cooperation and trade – can now mutually reinforce each other.
Authors : JUTTEN Marc

Pan-European Public Goods: Rationale, Financing and Governance

05-06-2024 755.726 ECON
Summary : Amidst a changed global environment and with the goal to defend its geopolitical weight, the EU should provide public goods with EU value added, so that efficiency gains can be achieved at the EU level. We propose an expanded EU budget to serve the dual role of more automatic stabilisation and the provision of EU public goods, where the European Parliament should have an enhanced role in setting investment priorities. We discuss three such areas of investment priority – infrastructure, defence and security, as well as research and development.

Geographical indications for wine, spirit drinks and agricultural products

05-06-2024 739.304
Summary : The Parliament and Council have adopted a regulation on geographical indications for wine, spirit drinks and agricultural products. The new legislation brings together in a single legal document the provisions setting out the procedures for registering geographical indications (GIs) for wine, spirit drinks and agricultural products that are currently spread over three regulations. It increases the powers and responsibilities of producer groups, lays down rules on sustainability practices, clarifies rules on the use of GI products as ingredients, and improves the protection of GI products online. The Commission will remain in charge of the management of geographical indications, with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) only providing technical assistance and maintaining the GI register. The new regulation entered into force on 13 May 2024. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : SAJN Nikolina

The rights of LGBTI people in the European Union

05-06-2024 762.325
Summary : The prohibition of discrimination and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people persists throughout the EU and takes various forms, including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as grounds of discrimination. However, the scope of the provisions dealing with this issue is limited and does not cover social protection, health care, education or access to goods and services, leaving LGBTI people particularly vulnerable in these areas. Moreover, EU competence does not extend to recognition of marital or family status. In this area, national regulations vary, with some Member States offering same-sex couples the right to marry, some allowing alternative forms of registration, and others not providing any legal status for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples may or may not have the right to adopt children and to access assisted reproduction. These divergent legal statuses have implications, for instance, for partners from two Member States with different standards who want to formalise/legalise their relationship, and for same-sex couples and their families wishing to move to another Member State. Combating discrimination has become part of EU internal and external policies, and is the subject of numerous resolutions of the European Parliament. However, action in this area remains problematic when it touches on issues pertaining to areas traditionally the preserve of Member States, such as marital status and family law. This is a further updated version of a briefing, the previous edition of which was published in May 2023.

Recast Eurodac Regulation

05-06-2024 589.808
Summary : Eurodac is a biometric database in which Member States are required to enter the fingerprint data of asylum-seekers in order to identify where they entered the European Union (EU). Established in 2000 and reviewed in 2013, its main purpose is to facilitate the application of the Dublin Regulation. The 2013 revision of the regulation broadened its scope to provide law enforcement authorities with access to the Eurodac database. As part of the reform of the common European asylum system in 2016, the European Commission proposed a recast of the Eurodac Regulation. The co-legislators reached a partial agreement on the proposal in 2018. As part of the broader migration and asylum pact, the new Commission presented an amended proposal on 23 September 2020. Following trilogue negotiations, a political agreement on the Eurodac was reached on 20 December 2023. The European Parliament adopted the regulation at its plenary session on 10 April 2024 and the Council adopted the act on 14 May 2024. The final act was published in the Official Journal on 22 May 2024. It will apply from 12 June 2026, with the exception of Article 26, which will apply from 12 June 2029. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : ORAV Anita

Revision of Directive 2011/98/EU on the single permit to reside and work

05-06-2024 739.289
Summary : Most migrants arrive in Europe legally, to work, study or join family members; 1.2 million of the first residence permits granted to non-EU third-country nationals in 2022 were for work purposes. The EU shares competence on legal migration with Member States but can set conditions for third-country nationals' entry into and legal residence in Member States. However, Member States retain the right to determine admission numbers for third-country nationals seeking work. The Single Permit Directive sets out a single application procedure for a combined work and residence permit, and a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in an EU country. In 2022, the European Commission announced an overhaul of the EU's acquis on legal migration. It also proposed a recast of the Single Permit Directive, with the objective of simplifying the application process for living and working in the EU and improving rights for residents and their family members. In the European Parliament, the proposal was assigned to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. On 20 December 2023, the Council and the Parliament reached an agreement. The act was then adopted by both institutions. Member States have two years to transpose the directive into national law. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : ORAV Anita

Crisis and force majeure regulation

05-06-2024 659.448
Summary : In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new pact on asylum and migration, which includes a proposal for a regulation dealing with crisis and force majeure in the area of migration and asylum. The proposal aimed to establish a mechanism for dealing with mass influxes and irregular arrivals of third-country nationals in a Member State. The proposed regulation set out a solidarity mechanism procedure, allowing derogations from the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMMR) as regards the procedural timeframes. Other derogations from the AMMR concern crisis situations, more specifically the asylum crisis management procedure, the return crisis management procedure, and the registration of international protection applications. On 20 December 2023, European Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional agreement on this proposal. On 10 April 2024, the European Parliament adopted the text resulting from the interinstitutional negotiations. The Council adopted this text on 14 May 2024. The Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation was published in the Official Journal on 22 May 2024 and will apply from 1 July 2026. Third edition of a briefing originally drafted by Nikolai Atanassov. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : ORAV Anita

Ukraine Plan conditionality: What is expected and how does it compare with similar programmes?

04-06-2024 755.733 BUDG AFET ECON
Summary : This paper outlines the main elements related to conditionality included in the Ukraine Plan, and compares it with the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s approach to conditionality, in particular with respect to the group of Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCS) that currently includes Ukraine.

Screening of third-country nationals at the EU's external borders

03-06-2024 659.346
Summary : In September 2020, the Commission put forward a new pact on migration and asylum, setting out a comprehensive approach to European Union (EU) migration policies that links external borders, asylum, return systems, the Schengen area of free movement and the external dimension of migration. The pact includes a proposal for a new regulation on the screening of third-country nationals at external borders aiming to clarify and streamline the rules on dealing with third-country nationals who are not authorised to enter or stay in the EU. The proposal would introduce a pre-entry screening procedure allowing national authorities at external borders to channel irregular third-country nationals to the appropriate procedure, i.e. asylum or return procedures. The screening would start with preliminary health and vulnerability checks and finish with the transmission of a debriefing form to the appropriate authorities. The proposal would provide for the establishment, by each Member State, of an independent monitoring mechanism for fundamental rights. The Parliament adopted the regulation in April 2024 and the Council in May. The new regulation enters into force on 11 June 2024 and will apply from 12 June 2026. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : DUMBRAVA Costica

Addressing AI risks in the workplace: Workers and algorithms

03-06-2024 762.323
Summary : Algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way people live and work. Depending on how AI technologies are used and what purpose they serve, they can drive progress and benefit the whole of society, but they also raise ethical concerns and may cause harm. When introduced to the world of work, their transformative potential runs into complex national and EU rules. Existing labour laws, put in place before AI systems came on the scene, do not appear fit to provide meaningful guiderails. As with any new technologies, tensions arise between two opposing regulatory approaches: strict regulation to safeguard society from potential hazards and minimum regulation to promote the technology's deployment and innovation. For employers who invest in AI systems, the main motivation is better workplace organisation, increased productivity, and competitiveness. Workers, on the other hand, may fear losing their jobs, and also want to have a say in how AI and algorithms are to become part of their daily lives. Focusing on workplace deployment of AI, this briefing looks at the state of play of algorithmic management in the workplace and some issues relating to the data that algorithms use and generate. It offers an overview of the current top-down EU legislative approach, of insights brought by the European Parliament, and of advances in collective bargaining, demonstrating the potential of a bottom-up approach to complement AI deployment. The briefing looks at the potential use of sleeping clauses in the existing EU legal framework and – taking note of the views of both employers and trade unions – highlights the many open questions that remain.
Authors : PAPE Marketa

Will the EU help build a cobalt refinery in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

02-06-2024 757.828
At a Glance
Summary : Most of the world's cobalt, a strategic raw material for the EU, is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is then shipped to China for processing before being used, for instance, in batteries and electric vehicles (EVs). This creates inefficiencies, extra emissions and, above all, crucial critical raw material and green sector dependencies on China. The DRC wants to move up the battery supply chain. A 2021 Bloomberg study shows that building a Congolese processing plant to produce lithium-ion battery precursors would be vastly cheaper than constructing one in the US, China or Europe. A Global Gateway partnership framework with the DRC is in place to help develop its critical raw material value chains. Could EU partners reduce critical raw material and green transition dependencies on China by building a Global Gateway cobalt processing plant in the DRC?

The 100 largest recipients of Recovery and Resilience Facility funds

02-06-2024 762.322
Summary : To protect the EU's financial interests and detect fraud, corruption and conflicts of interest, it is necessary to know who benefits from EU funds. However, publicly available data are currently fragmented and often incomplete, complicating the process of identifying the final beneficiaries of EU funding. The European Parliament and its Committee on Budgetary Control have consistently called for transparency in the allocation and use of EU funds. The ultimate goal is to enable the tracing of funds, and ensure targeted and effective EU spending. When it comes to the EU's Next Generation EU recovery instrument and its main component, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), Parliament has maintained its focus on ensuring transparency. The RRF is a temporary instrument designed to release substantial financial support to EU Member States within a limited time (December 2026 at the latest). It is performance-based: unlike other EU spending programmes, RRF payments to Member States are not linked to the eligibility of a beneficiary, project, and declared costs, but to the satisfactory achievement of predefined milestones and targets. Funds enter the national budget and are further distributed within the Member State. Because of these characteristics, as well as its size and the timing and purpose of the instrument's creation (amid the COVID-19 pandemic), public interest in how RRF funds are spent is high. Parliament has thus sought to increase the transparency of RRF implementation by introducing the requirement for Member States to report regularly on the 100 largest final beneficiaries of RRF funds, and publish the data on dedicated national online portals. Information as to where and on what RRF funds are spent is meant to increase the transparency of how the EU helps address common challenges, and improve its credibility. This is especially important as alleged cases of fraud emerge in the media and are reported by the European Public Prosecutors Office. Since 2023, data on the top 100 recipients has been accessible on the European Commission's Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard. Member States are expected to continue updating the data twice a year. While all have complied, there is some concern that in practice the definition of 'final recipient' used in the RRF Regulation does not guarantee the desired level of transparency.
Authors : LILYANOVA Velina

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

02-06-2024 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.

New European cybersecurity competence centre and network

02-06-2024 635.518
Summary : On 13 September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with a series of initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience, deterrence and defence. A year later, the Commission presented a proposal for the creation of a European cybersecurity competence centre with a related network of national coordination centres. The initiative aimed to improve and strengthen the EU's cybersecurity capacity, by stimulating the European technological and industrial cybersecurity ecosystem as well as coordinating and pooling necessary resources in Europe. The competence centre was supposed to become the main body that would manage EU financial resources dedicated to cybersecurity research under the two proposed programmes – Digital Europe and Horizon Europe – within the next multiannual financial framework, for 2021-2027. Within the European Parliament, the file was assigned to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). The report was adopted on 19 February 2019 in the ITRE committee. On 17 April 2019 the Parliament adopted its position at first reading, after two trilogue meetings, before the European elections. A new trilogue meeting took place more than a year later, on 25 June 2020, and further negotiations followed. During the fifth trilogue meeting on 11 December 2020, the negotiators of the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement. The Council adopted the legislation in April 2021 at first reading. The ITRE committee made its recommendation for second reading in April 2021, and Parliament adopted the text during the May 2021 plenary session. It entered into force on 28 June 2021. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Bank crisis management and deposit insurance

31-05-2024 749.798
Summary : On 18 April 2023, the European Commission tabled a package of proposals to amend the bank crisis management and deposit insurance (CMDI) framework. The objective of the reform is to calibrate the framework so as to further deepen harmonisation and reduce the use of taxpayer funding to rescue failed banks. More specifically, the proposal would amend the early intervention procedure and the decision to resolve a failing bank in the public interest. It would also encourage the use of funding from national deposit guarantee schemes in resolution. In Parliament, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) is responsible for the files and has adopted its reports. Parliament adopted its first-reading position on the files during its April II plenary session. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

European defence industry programme (EDIP)

30-05-2024 762.320
Summary : On 24 February 2022, Russia's unjustified aggression against Ukraine signalled the return of high-intensity warfare to Europe. In response, and to ensure the EU's long-term goal of achieving defence industrial readiness, the European Commission adopted the first-ever European defence industrial strategy (EDIS) on 5 March 2024. As an immediate and central step to deliver the strategy, the Commission put forward a proposal for a European defence industry programme (EDIP) regulation, also on 5 March 2024. EDIP – with a proposed budget of €1.5 billion – seeks to achieve defence industrial readiness by bridging the gap between short-term emergency measures that have been implemented since 2023 and will end in 2025 and a more structural, long-term approach. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Revision of EU pharmaceutical legislation

30-05-2024 749.789
Summary : On 10 April 2024, the European Parliament adopted its position at first reading on two European Commission proposals to revise the EU's pharmaceutical legislation. The revision seeks to enhance the security of supply of medicines, making them more available, accessible and affordable across EU countries, while supporting the attractiveness of the EU pharmaceutical industry by fostering research and innovation. The 'pharmaceutical package' includes proposals for a new directive and a new regulation that would replace the existing pharmaceutical legislation, including the legislation on medicines for children and for rare diseases. The Council has not yet adopted its position. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : AMAND-EECKHOUT Laurence

The arrival of e-voting and campaign technologies in Europe: Promise, perils and preparedness

30-05-2024 762.321
Summary : Traditionally, political parties and electoral administrations in the European Union have been slow to adopt campaign and election technologies. However, there is now a noticeable shift among European actors towards leveraging key technologies to enhance political communication and voting procedures. Authorities in Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, France and one district in Portugal have already used electronic voting methods. Additionally, political parties are widely adopting data-driven campaign technology throughout Europe, including in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands. Experts anticipate that political parties will further harness artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance their communication strategies. Outlining the risks and opportunities associated with these technologies, this briefing examines how the recently updated legal framework governs content management tools utilised by political parties for the creation and dissemination of content. More specifically, it shows that political parties, intermediary services and providers of content creation solutions are subject to a range of data processing restrictions, transparency obligations and risk management requirements under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the e-Privacy Directive (e-PD), and the Digital Services Act (DSA). These obligations will become more stringent once the Regulation on the Transparency and Targeting of Political Advertising (TTPA) and the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) become applicable after the 2024 European Parliament elections.
Authors : MILDEBRATH Hendrik Alexander

River Information Services Directive review

29-05-2024 762.319
Summary : Directive 2005/44/EC on harmonised river information services (RIS) on inland waterways ('RIS Directive') establishes rules on RIS to ensure the safety, efficiency and environmental protection of inland waterways in the EU. On 26 January 2024, the European Commission put forward a proposal to amend the RIS Directive with a view to addressing certain shortcomings. The amending directive should provide better-quality information, reduce efforts to collect basic information, reduce the need to re-register cargo information and report cargo information to ports, save costs through electronic processing of cargo information instead of on paper, save time spent planning voyages, save time on reporting requirements and improve navigation efficiency. In the European Parliament, the file has been assigned to the Committee on Transport and Tourism. A rapporteur was appointed on 17 April 2024. In the Council, work is ongoing at working party level. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : GULLENTOPS Mathias Mathieu

Combating violence against women and domestic violence

29-05-2024 739.392
Summary : Violence directed against a woman because she is a woman, or that affects women disproportionately ('gender-based violence against women') is a violation of fundamental rights, and a major obstacle to gender equality in all EU Member States. Despite increased attention, national legislation does not offer equal protection for women against all forms of gender-based violence across the EU, and there are significant gaps in the measures adopted at EU level. On 8 March 2022, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal on combating violence against women and domestic violence, to enshrine minimum standards in EU law for criminalising certain forms of gender-based violence, improve access to justice, protection and support for victims, ensure coordination between relevant services, and prevent these types of crime. In July 2023, based on a joint report drafted by its Committees for Gender Equality (FEMM) and Civil Liberties (LIBE), the Parliament decided to enter into interinstitutional negotiations. After difficult discussions, a compromise was reached that removed rape from the scope of the directive, owing to the Council's concerns over the absence of an EU legal basis. The final text was adopted by a large majority in Parliament during its April II 2024 plenary session and by the Council on 7 May 2024. Member States have three years to transpose it. Third edition of a briefing, the first edition of which was drafted by Rosamund Shreeves. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : ZAMFIR Ionel

La libertad de empresa, una perspectiva de Derecho Comparado - México ES

29-05-2024 762.318
Summary : Este documento se integra en una serie de estudios que, desde una perspectiva de Derecho Comparado, tienen como objeto analizar la libertad de empresa en diferentes ordenamientos jurídicos. Tras una breve introducción histórica, así como la explicación de la normativa y la jurisprudencia de aplicación, se examinan el contenido, los límites y la posible evolución de tal libertad. El presente estudio tiene por objeto el caso de México. La libertad de empresa ha estado presente en la historia constitucional, erigiéndose como la libertad por excelencia del sistema económico mixto mexicano. Si bien la Constitución de 1917 no la prevé de manera explícita, encuentra protección vía artículo 5 , en relación con las garantías institucionales previstas en el Capítulo Económico de la Constitución (artículos 25 a 28). Esta libertad ha recibido poca atención legislativa, jurisprudencial y doctrinal, enfocada, principalmente, en la concreción de límites y condiciones de su ejercicio para tutelar el interés general y, en último término, consolidar el Estado Social y Democrático de Derecho.

Data collection and sharing relating to short-term accommodation rental services

29-05-2024 739.334
Summary : On 7 November 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on data collection and sharing relating to short-term accommodation rental services. The proposal contributes to the Commission's priority of making the EU fit for the digital age. To build a future-ready economy that works for people and builds on the recent Digital Services Act, the proposal regulates online platforms that connect hosts and guests for short-term accommodation rentals. The regulation should facilitate the registration of hosts and their short-term rental properties and reduce inconsistencies in how online platforms share data. It should also help to avoid large volumes of differing data requests imposing a heavy burden on online platforms as well as increasing consumer confidence in these services. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached a provisional agreement on the file on 16 November 2023. Parliament endorsed the agreed text in plenary on 29 February 2024. After the Council adopted the act, it was signed by the co-legislators and published in the Official Journal of the EU on 29 April 2024. It entered into force 20 days later. It will start applying from 20 May 2026. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : Niestadt Maria

Waste framework directive: A more sustainable use of natural resources

29-05-2024 757.572
Summary : Every year, 60 million tonnes of food waste and 12.6 million tonnes of textile waste are generated in the EU. On 5 July 2023, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a targeted revision of EU waste rules. Aimed at accelerating the EU's progress towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 (halving food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030), the proposal would mean EU countries would have to reduce food waste by 10 % in processing and manufacturing, and by 30 % per capita, jointly at retail and consumption level, by 2030. The proposal also introduces extended producer responsibility requirements for the textile sector. These schemes would have to cover the costs of collecting textiles, shoes and textile-related products for re-use or recycling, along with transport and sorting, while also supporting research and development to improve sorting and recycling processes. The European Parliament adopted its first-reading position on 13 March 2024, with 514 votes in favour, 20 against and 91 abstentions. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) confirmed the higher binding waste reduction targets proposed by ENVI – from 10 % to 20 % in food processing and manufacturing, and from 30 % to 40 % per capita in retail, catering, food services and households – to be met at national level by 31 December 2030. However, this vote came too late to complete negotiations with the Council ahead of the European elections in June. It will therefore be for MEPs in the new Parliament to negotiate the final shape of the future legislation. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : KATSAROVA Ivana

Research for REGI committee - Absorption Rates of Cohesion Policy Funds

28-05-2024 747.284 REGI
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.

Plants produced using new genomic techniques

28-05-2024 754.549
Summary : On 5 July 2023, the Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation on certain new genomic techniques (NGTs). It establishes two categories of plants obtained by NGTs: plants comparable to naturally occurring or conventional plants, and plants with modifications that are more complex. The two categories will be subject to different requirements to reach the market, taking into account their different characteristics and risk profiles. Feedback from stakeholders is mixed. While industry interest groups hailed the 'game-changing proposals' bringing innovation in plant breeding, the organic food and farming movement criticised the Commission's plan to take NGTs out of the existing legal framework, as it could leave organic food systems unprotected. In a vote on 7 February 2024, the Parliament adopted its first-reading position with 307 votes for to 263 against and 41 abstentions. MEPs agreed to support a simplified registration for plant varieties produced using NGTs that are deemed to be equivalent to conventional varieties, while retaining stricter controls for others that are not (plants resulting from targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis). The Council is yet to reach a general approach. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages in the legislative procedure.
Authors : KATSAROVA Ivana

Revision of the EU rules on asset recovery and confiscation

27-05-2024 739.373
Summary : The confiscation of criminals' illicit profits is considered an effective tool in the fight against organised crime, identified as a major threat to EU security. However, despite the comprehensive set of EU rules on asset freezing and confiscation, there are still obstacles on the path to recovering criminal assets, as shown by the European Commission's June 2020 evaluation of the 2014 directive on freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime and the 2007 Council decision on asset recovery offices (AROs). To address this situation, in May 2022 the Commission adopted a proposal to amend the 2014 directive with a view to strengthening the EU's asset recovery and confiscation rules and reinforcing the powers of AROs. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted its report on 23 May 2023. On 12 December 2023, the co-legislators reached a provisional agreement on the text in interinstitutional negotiations. On 13 March 2024, the European Parliament adopted its position at first reading by 598 votes to 19, with 7 abstentions. The Council adopted the directive on 12 April 2024, and on 2 May 2024 the final act was published in the Official Journal. Member States must transpose the directive by 23 November 2026. Second edition of the briefing originally drafted by Carmen-Cristina Cîrlig. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : IMMENKAMP Beatrix

Youth, social media and the European elections

27-05-2024 762.317
At a Glance
Summary : As social media has become the main gateway to information for many young people, how will it influence the youth vote in the 2024 European elections? The turnout among young people in the 2019 European elections was relatively high, and many hope for a repeat performance in June this year. But ahead of the 2024 elections, the main European institutions have largely 'excluded' themselves from one of the most popular video-sharing platforms among young people – TikTok – over data security concerns. Social media in itself is a difficult phenomenon to study, as recommendation algorithms mean that everyone sees different content.
Authors : LAANINEN Tarja

European cross-border associations

26-05-2024 762.316
Summary : The European Parliament has consistently advocated for the creation of an EU-wide legal framework for non-profit and not-for-profit entities operating within the EU. In 2013, it called for the adoption of common EU rules for mutual societies, and made a similar call in 2018 for social and solidarity-based enterprises. In February 2022, it adopted a resolution on cross-border associations and non profit organisations, urging the European Commission to propose a regulation establishing a statute for a European association. This statute would outline the conditions and procedures for the establishment, governance, registration and regulation of legal entities in the form of a European association. The resolution also called for a directive that would simplify the process for non-profit organisations in the EU to exercise their rights in the internal market. In response to the Parliament's resolution, the Commission presented a proposal for a directive on European cross-border associations on 5 September 2023. The proposed directive aims to coordinate the conditions for establishing and operating 'European cross-border associations' (ECBAs) in order to help non-profit associations exercise their rights in relation to the freedom of establishment, free movement of capital, freedom to provide and receive services and free movement of goods in the internal market. During its plenary session of 13 March 2024, Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on the proposal at first reading, using the report drawn up by the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) as the basis for its position. The resolution was adopted ahead of any trilogues. The Council of the EU has not yet started examining the proposal. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : MAŃKO Rafał

'Safe country of origin' concept in EU asylum law

26-05-2024 762.315
Summary : EU Member States have a shared responsibility to give protection to asylum-seekers, and to ensure they receive fair treatment and that their cases are examined in accordance with uniform standards. The common European asylum system (CEAS) establishes common standards for Member States in their procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection. A critical aspect of a common approach to international protection is application of the 'safe country of origin' concept. In the context of refugees, the term 'safe country of origin' (SCO) has been used to refer to countries whose citizens should not, in theory, be granted international protection, since those countries are widely regarded as safe. The concept can refer to the automatic exclusion from refugee status of nationals originating from SCOs, or it can raise a presumption of safety that those nationals must rebut. Several international and regional human rights bodies have either raised concerns about the use of the SCO concept or proposed appropriate safeguards to ensure that fundamental rights of persons in genuine need of international protection, but who originate from SCOs, are respected. At EU level, the concept has gradually developed as part of the CEAS, culminating in the adoption of the provisions on the common EU list of SCOs. Many Member States have already established national SCO lists. With the new asylum legislation, transposition of the SCO concept will be mandatory for all Member States, which will also be able to retain or introduce national SCO lists other than those designated at EU level.
Authors : RADJENOVIC Anja

Reforming asylum and migration management

26-05-2024 659.316
Summary : In September 2020, the European Commission submitted a proposal on asylum and migration management, to replace the 2013 Dublin Regulation that determines the EU Member State responsible for examining asylum applications. While the proposal 'essentially preserves' the current criteria for determining this responsibility, it would also make changes and additions to the regulation, especially on solidarity and responsibility-sharing for asylum-seekers among Member States. The proposal came after a failed attempt to reform EU asylum policy following the 2015 migration crisis. While the migratory context had since changed, the migration situation remained fragile. According to the Commission, addressing this situation required a relaunch of the reform of the common European asylum system. The new system would ensure international protection for those who need it and be effective and humane towards those who have to be returned. On 20 December 2023, Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal. The Parliament adopted the agreed text at first reading at its plenary session of 10 April 2024, and Coreper approved the agreement on 8 February 2024. After the presidents of both institutions signed the regulation on 14 May 2024, it was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 22 May 2024. The regulation enters into force in June 2024 and into application on 1 July 2026. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : RADJENOVIC Anja

Reception of asylum-seekers – Recast directive

26-05-2024 593.520
Summary : Asylum-seekers and refugees must be treated according to the standards laid down in human rights and refugee law. The 2015 migration crisis revealed wide divergences in the reception conditions in the EU Member States. While some encounter difficulties in ensuring adequate and dignified treatment of applicants, others offer more generous standards of reception. This has led to secondary movements of asylum-seekers and refugees, putting pressure on some Member States. The aim of the proposed recast Reception Conditions Directive, to replace the current one, is to ensure greater harmonisation of reception standards and more equal treatment of asylum-seekers across the entire EU, as well as to avoid 'asylum shopping', whereby asylum-seekers choose the Member State with the highest protection standards for their application. The Commission tabled its proposal on the recast directive in 2016. After reaching a partial provisional agreement on its text in 2018, the Parliament and the Council reached a final agreement on 15 December 2022. The Parliament adopted the agreed text at first reading at its plenary session of 10 April 2024, and Coreper approved the agreement on 8 February 2024. After the presidents of both institutions signed the directive on 14 May 2024, it was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 22 May 2024 and will enter into force in June 2024. Member States will then have 2 years to transpose the provisions of the directive into their national laws. Sixth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
Authors : RADJENOVIC Anja

European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS)

23-05-2024 579.090
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.

EU economic developments and projections

23-05-2024 645.716 ECON
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.

Reform of the Qualification Directive

23-05-2024 603.914
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
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
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

Mexico ahead of the June 2024 general election

23-05-2024 762.314
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

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

22-05-2024 757.794
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

Humanitarian assistance to persons with disabilities

22-05-2024 754.453 DEVE
Summary : The European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) has improved its disability inclusion and monitoring through the development of excellent disability inclusion guidance and e-learning tools. Nevertheless, despite this progress, further enhancements are still necessary in some areas to strengthen the embedding of disability inclusion in better and systematic ways within DG ECHO-supported programmes. This includes the integration of an intersectionality perspective into programming and upgrading monitoring by including sex, age and disability disaggregated data and its analysis in consistent ways. As a priority, EU humanitarian aid programming should also incentivise the involvement of organisations of persons with disabilities through specific calls and the prioritisation of proposals involving them. Moreover, these organisations’ capacities should be supported and implementing partners should be pushed to develop programme monitoring mechanisms and activities including persons with disabilities. Lastly, proactive influencing of partners in promoting improvement to their organisational policies, practices and monitoring of disability inclusion should be undertaken.

A new operational framework for the European Central Bank

22-05-2024 762.313
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.

Health consequences of prolonged exposure to multiple industrial air pollutants

21-05-2024 757.793
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).

Making representation of third countries' interests more transparent

20-05-2024 762.312
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.

Soil monitoring and resilience directive

16-05-2024 757.627
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
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.

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

15-05-2024 762.309
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.

'Europeanising' the electoral ballot

15-05-2024 762.310
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
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.

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

12-05-2024 762.305
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
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.

Addressing the critical state of European eel stocks

12-05-2024 762.306
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.

Demographic change in Europe: A toolbox for action

06-05-2024 762.302
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.

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
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.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and human rights: Using AI as a weapon of repression and its impact on human rights

30-04-2024 754.450 DROI
In-Depth Analysis
Summary : This in-depth analysis (IDA) explores the most prominent actors, cases and techniques of algorithmic authoritarianism together with the legal, regulatory and diplomatic framework related to AI-based biases as well as deliberate misuses. With the world leaning heavily towards digital transformation, AI’s use in policy, economic and social decision-making has introduced alarming trends in repressive and authoritarian agendas. Such misuse grows ever more relevant to the European Parliament, resonating with its commitment to safeguarding human rights in the context of digital trans-formation. By shedding light on global patterns and rapidly developing technologies of algorithmic authoritarianism, this IDA aims to produce a wider understanding of the complex policy, regulatory and diplomatic challenges at the intersection of technology, democracy and human rights. Insights into AI’s role in bolstering authoritarian tactics offer a foundation for Parliament’s advocacy and policy interventions, underscoring the urgency for a robust international framework to regulate the use of AI, whilst ensuring that technological progress does not weaken fundamental freedoms. Detailed case studies and policy recommendations serve as a strategic resource for Parliament’s initiatives: they highlight the need for vigilance and proactive measures by combining partnerships (technical assistance), industrial thriving (AI Act), influence (regulatory convergence) and strength (sanctions, export controls) to develop strategic policy approaches for countering algorithmic control encroachments.
Document type

Executive summary

Law and ICT

29-04-2024 762.738 JURI
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.

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.

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

26-04-2024 762.307
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
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.

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
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