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EMAS in the European Parliament: A quiet success story

28-02-2020

The European Union (EU) Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a voluntary management instrument for companies and other organisations wanting to evaluate, report and continuously improve their environmental performance. In 2007, as part of its commitment to making a long-term contribution to sustainable development, the European Parliament became one of the few EU institutions and the first parliament in the EU to obtain EMAS certification. Through its environmental management system it is able ...

The European Union (EU) Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a voluntary management instrument for companies and other organisations wanting to evaluate, report and continuously improve their environmental performance. In 2007, as part of its commitment to making a long-term contribution to sustainable development, the European Parliament became one of the few EU institutions and the first parliament in the EU to obtain EMAS certification. Through its environmental management system it is able to track progress towards targets with regard to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and waste, promoting the efficient use of energy, water and paper, and incorporating environmental guidelines into procurement procedures. Concerted efforts have resulted in achieving or exceeding several of the targets set in 2017. The targets were revised accordingly; on 16 December 2019, the Bureau adopted a decision setting new targets to be achieved by the end of the 9th parliamentary term. This document details the Parliament's progress to date in meeting its targets in all of the above-mentioned areas, and maps out its ambitions for the future.

Външен автор

This document is an update of a December 2018 publication, compiled and edited by Desislava Boyadjieva, with graphics by Nadejda Kresnichka-Nikolchova, Publications Management and Editorial Unit, EPRS, on behalf of the EMAS Unit.

State of play of EU-China relations

21-01-2019

EU-China relations are increasingly affected by growing Sino-United States strategic competition. The Trump Administration considers China a strategic competitor to confront, rather than a country with which to engage. The EU, on the contrary, refers to China as a strategic partner and, despite persistent and considerable differences in position in some areas, continues to engage. The United States’ current preference for bi and unilateralism, and withdrawal from multilateral arrangements, which ...

EU-China relations are increasingly affected by growing Sino-United States strategic competition. The Trump Administration considers China a strategic competitor to confront, rather than a country with which to engage. The EU, on the contrary, refers to China as a strategic partner and, despite persistent and considerable differences in position in some areas, continues to engage. The United States’ current preference for bi and unilateralism, and withdrawal from multilateral arrangements, which the EU considers vital elements of a rules-based international order, create openings for China to fill the gap. For the EU, this implies the need to seek issue-based alliances and to strengthen strategic cooperation with China on issues of common interest to reach and uphold multilateral solutions to global and regional challenges. Since 2013, the 2003 EU-China comprehensive strategic partnership has been broadened and deepened in line with the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. This has led to a high degree of institutionalisation of EU-China ties, with an ever-growing number of dialogue formats that cover political, economic and people-to-people relations, but whose tangible results vary significantly. Notwithstanding the frequency of political exchanges and successful cooperation on key global challenges, such as the nuclear deal with Iran and climate change, the economic pillar has remained the core of the relationship. As China is rapidly climbing the value-added ladder, trade is an area of cooperation where complementarity is shifting fast towards competition. Friction is unavoidable as two fundamentally different economic systems interact, and each side has its own understanding of what 'free' trade, 'fair' trade, 'reciprocity' and a 'level playing field' means. Given the wide diversity of EU Member States' interests and perceptions, which third countries may easily exploit for their own gains, the EU has struggled to come forward with a unified response to China-led initiatives. The European Parliament resolution on the state of play of EU-China relations adopted in September 2018 includes a critical assessment of China's foreign and domestic policies, including human rights, as well as of progress on the implementation of the EU-China strategic partnership.

Climate change [What Think Tanks are thinking]

16-11-2018

World leaders are preparing for the ‘COP 24’ summit on tackling climate change in Katowice, Poland, in December, which is meant to debate how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, a United Nations report has called for more measures to cut emissions of greenhouse gases: On 8 October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest findings, which indicate that limiting global warming to the 1.5˚C increase agreed in Paris would require rapid, far-reaching and ...

World leaders are preparing for the ‘COP 24’ summit on tackling climate change in Katowice, Poland, in December, which is meant to debate how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, a United Nations report has called for more measures to cut emissions of greenhouse gases: On 8 October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest findings, which indicate that limiting global warming to the 1.5˚C increase agreed in Paris would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on climate talks and wider issues relating to climate change. Earlier publications on the issue can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking' published in November 2017.

The Global Action Climate Summit (GCAS), San Francisco, 12-14 September 2018

16-08-2018

The briefing is for the ENVI Committee delegation to the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, which will take place in San Francisco from the 12th until the 14th of September. The Summit will enable a range of different stakeholders (i.e. state and local governments, business and citizens) to publicize the climate actions currently being implemented ‘on the ground’ to help inspire further efforts to support and build upon the commitments pledged in the Paris Agreement.

The briefing is for the ENVI Committee delegation to the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, which will take place in San Francisco from the 12th until the 14th of September. The Summit will enable a range of different stakeholders (i.e. state and local governments, business and citizens) to publicize the climate actions currently being implemented ‘on the ground’ to help inspire further efforts to support and build upon the commitments pledged in the Paris Agreement.

A new era in EU-China relations: more wide-ranging strategic cooperation?

19-07-2018

China is an important strategic partner for the EU, despite fundamental divergences in some areas, mostly related to state intervention and fundamental human rights. The partnership offers mutually beneficial cooperation and dialogue in areas ranging from investment and transport to human rights and cybersecurity. China is navigating in new directions, guided by Xi Jinping's 'Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’. Despite President Xi’s repeated avowals that 'the market ...

China is an important strategic partner for the EU, despite fundamental divergences in some areas, mostly related to state intervention and fundamental human rights. The partnership offers mutually beneficial cooperation and dialogue in areas ranging from investment and transport to human rights and cybersecurity. China is navigating in new directions, guided by Xi Jinping's 'Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’. Despite President Xi’s repeated avowals that 'the market will have a decisive role', public ownership remains the mainstay of the Chinese economy, whereas profound reforms would be needed to tackle the root causes of overcapacity in various industrial sectors. Xi's ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, now also included in the Constitution, is the flagship international connectivity and infrastructure programme dominated by Chinese state-owned companies. Overall, China’s crucial, but complex transition towards more sustainable growth would eventually benefit both, China and the world as a whole. Global economic interdependence, however, makes certain spill-over effects of China’s rebalancing unavoidable. China plays a pivotal role in global governance and the rules-based international order, and this comes with responsibilities. Beijing has begun to shift away from the narrow pursuit of national aims towards a more assertive foreign and security policy, and increased financial, economic and security cooperation with a global outreach. China is also facing domestic concerns, such as lifting millions of people out of poverty and reducing ever-growing income inequalities, deterioration in the situation of human rights and freedoms as well as endemic corruption.

Brexit Literature Update 02/2018

21-02-2018

Following a relevant request by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs has been compiling, on a regular basis, academic and scholarly material related to the process of, and the negotiations on, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Since the June 2016 referendum in the UK, Brexit-related literature has grown significantly and it is probably going to expand further in the future. Thus, this compilation is far from exhaustive; ...

Following a relevant request by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs has been compiling, on a regular basis, academic and scholarly material related to the process of, and the negotiations on, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Since the June 2016 referendum in the UK, Brexit-related literature has grown significantly and it is probably going to expand further in the future. Thus, this compilation is far from exhaustive; rather, it identifies some of the more useful articles, taking into account, in particular, the following elements: • Scholarly rather than a journalistic character of the publication • Originality and interest • Recent publication • Be of interest for the EU • Constitutional or institutional relevance.

COP 23: Climate change talks [What Think Tanks are thinking]

10-11-2017

Representatives of nearly 200 countries started 11 days of talks on 6 November in Bonn, Germany, on how to further implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on tackling climate change. The United Nations' climate meeting, COP 23, is part of global efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Those efforts suffered a blow earlier in 2017, when US President Donald Trump announced plans for the United States to pull out of the Paris Agreement. This note brings together commentaries ...

Representatives of nearly 200 countries started 11 days of talks on 6 November in Bonn, Germany, on how to further implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on tackling climate change. The United Nations' climate meeting, COP 23, is part of global efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Those efforts suffered a blow earlier in 2017, when US President Donald Trump announced plans for the United States to pull out of the Paris Agreement. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on the Bonn talks and wider issues relating to climate change. Earlier publications on the Paris Agreement can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking' published in February 2016.

Implementing the Aarhus Convention: Access to justice in environmental matters

11-10-2017

The Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters is an international agreement that gives the public a number of rights with regard to the environment. It consists of three pillars, one of them covering the right of access to justice in cases of non-compliance with environmental law. Implementation of the convention's provisions on access to justice have been the focus of two recent documents, one published by the ...

The Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters is an international agreement that gives the public a number of rights with regard to the environment. It consists of three pillars, one of them covering the right of access to justice in cases of non-compliance with environmental law. Implementation of the convention's provisions on access to justice have been the focus of two recent documents, one published by the European Commission and the other by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. While the European Commission examines the implementation of the convention provisions in the Member States, the UNECE Committee takes a critical look at implementation at EU level. Both papers point to shortcomings, in particular with regard to the right of non-governmental organisations to be heard in court. Regarding implementation at Member State level, the Commission has launched a dialogue procedure with each Member State concerned. When it comes to implementation at EU level, the convention's Meeting of the Parties in September 2017 postponed its decision on the findings of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee in respect of the EU to its next meeting in 2021.

Indonesia and prospects for closer EU ties

09-10-2017

Public opinion surveys suggest that although most Indonesians do not know much about the European Union, they generally feel positively towards it. Looking at the principles underpinning key Indonesian government policies over the past few decades, there is much common ground between the EU and Indonesia. Some of the biggest gaps are in the field of economic policy, where the EU's commitment to trade and investment liberalisation contrasts with Indonesia's more ambiguous stance. There are more similarities ...

Public opinion surveys suggest that although most Indonesians do not know much about the European Union, they generally feel positively towards it. Looking at the principles underpinning key Indonesian government policies over the past few decades, there is much common ground between the EU and Indonesia. Some of the biggest gaps are in the field of economic policy, where the EU's commitment to trade and investment liberalisation contrasts with Indonesia's more ambiguous stance. There are more similarities in foreign and security policy: like the EU, Indonesia is strongly supportive of regional integration, and its efforts to build south-east Asian consensus mirror the EU's common foreign and security policy. Climate change is another area of convergence, with strong commitments from both sides to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia shares both the EU's motto of 'unity in diversity' and its commitment to multiculturalism; thanks to a successful democratic transition, it has also moved closer to the EU's approach to human rights, although there are still concerns about the situation of some Indonesian minorities. Positive Indonesian perceptions of the EU and shared values are a strong foundation for the two sides to develop closer economic and political cooperation. Indonesia is an important partner for the EU both in its own right and as a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with which the EU aims to develop a strategic partnership.

'Global Trends to 2035' Geo-politics and international power

20-09-2017

This study considers eight economic, societal, and political global trends that will shape the world to 2035, namely an ageing population, fragile globalisation, a technological revolution, climate change, shifting power relations, new areas of state competition, politics of the information age and ecological threats. It first examines how they may affect some of the fundamental assumptions of the international system. Then it considers four scenarios based on two factors: an unstable or stable Europe ...

This study considers eight economic, societal, and political global trends that will shape the world to 2035, namely an ageing population, fragile globalisation, a technological revolution, climate change, shifting power relations, new areas of state competition, politics of the information age and ecological threats. It first examines how they may affect some of the fundamental assumptions of the international system. Then it considers four scenarios based on two factors: an unstable or stable Europe and world. Finally, it presents policy options for the EU to address the challenges created by these trends.

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