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The informal economy and coronavirus in Latin America

04-05-2021

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in Latin America's worst economic and social crisis in decades, with a disproportionate impact on informal workers. The informal economy describes economic activity by workers or economic units that is not or only insufficiently covered by formal legal or practical arrangements. Although it is on the decline in Latin America, the informal economy still accounts for slightly over half of all jobs in the region. To counteract the spread of Covid-19, various confinement ...

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in Latin America's worst economic and social crisis in decades, with a disproportionate impact on informal workers. The informal economy describes economic activity by workers or economic units that is not or only insufficiently covered by formal legal or practical arrangements. Although it is on the decline in Latin America, the informal economy still accounts for slightly over half of all jobs in the region. To counteract the spread of Covid-19, various confinement measures were implemented in Latin American countries. These lockdowns have had a substantial effect on earnings in the informal economy, some estimations show income contraction of up to 80 %. By its very nature, the informal economy leaves workers vulnerable to external shocks. Inadequate or non-existent social safety nets mean that income losses can quickly lead to poverty or death. Despite several Latin American countries being classified as high- or upper middle-income countries, large parts of the region's inhabitants lack access to health care. For those who do have access, out-of-pocket expenses are high. Furthermore, many public hospitals are overstrained and lack the qualified staff to deal with a health crisis. The pre-existing levels of high inequality have been aggravated since the start of the pandemic. Various economic and social policy responses have been implemented to alleviate the current circumstances. Nevertheless, limited fiscal space and a lack of state capacity weakens the effectiveness of such policies. The situation is worsened by an expected slow economic recovery: estimates project a return to pre-pandemic levels of aggregate output only by the end of 2023. The European Union has pledged €918 million to support the region under the Team Europe package.

The six policy priorities of the von der Leyen Commission: State of play in spring 2021

03-05-2021

This EPRS paper analyses progress in attaining the policy agenda set out by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and her College of Commissioners when they took office in December 2019. It looks in particular at the state of play in respect of delivery on the six key priorities asserted at that time and at how they have since been affected by the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The evidence so far suggests that, rather than undermine their original agenda or knock it badly ...

This EPRS paper analyses progress in attaining the policy agenda set out by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and her College of Commissioners when they took office in December 2019. It looks in particular at the state of play in respect of delivery on the six key priorities asserted at that time and at how they have since been affected by the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The evidence so far suggests that, rather than undermine their original agenda or knock it badly off course, the Commission has been able to use the momentum of events to assert the increased relevance of their priorities – especially in the climate action and digital fields – and to operationalise them further through the €750 billion 'Next Generation EU' (NGEU) recovery fund. Concretely, EPRS finds that of the nearly 400 legislative and non-legislative initiatives foreshadowed by the von der Leyen Commission on taking office or since (397), almost half have already been submitted (192). Of these, one in five has already been adopted (43), while the great majority of the remainder are either proceeding normally in the legislative process (97) or are close to adoption (26). Conversely, a certain number of proposals are proceeding very slowly or are currently blocked (26).

President Biden's climate summit

03-05-2021

On 22 and 23 April 2021, United States (US) President Joe Biden convened a virtual summit of 40 world leaders in a bid to galvanise global efforts to address the climate crisis. There he announced new targets of cutting US net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 'between 26 and 28 %' by 2025, and by 'between 50 and 52 %' by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. Biden also announced initiatives to help developing countries decarbonise, and encouraged other countries to match US ambition. The summit, one ...

On 22 and 23 April 2021, United States (US) President Joe Biden convened a virtual summit of 40 world leaders in a bid to galvanise global efforts to address the climate crisis. There he announced new targets of cutting US net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 'between 26 and 28 %' by 2025, and by 'between 50 and 52 %' by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. Biden also announced initiatives to help developing countries decarbonise, and encouraged other countries to match US ambition. The summit, one of a number of events leading up to the (delayed) 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow (United Kingdom) in November 2021, prompted several other countries to pledge new targets. The EU has welcomed the new US targets, but questions remain about their level of ambition and feasibility.

The coronavirus pandemic in Latin America

28-04-2021

Latin America is among the world's regions worst affected by Covid-19, and its economies, employment and even human rights are already suffering seriously, and are expected to continue to do so. Governments and international organisations, including the EU, are making efforts to mitigate the consequences, but the results remain uncertain. This is an update of an 'At a glance' note from October 2020.

Latin America is among the world's regions worst affected by Covid-19, and its economies, employment and even human rights are already suffering seriously, and are expected to continue to do so. Governments and international organisations, including the EU, are making efforts to mitigate the consequences, but the results remain uncertain. This is an update of an 'At a glance' note from October 2020.

The level playing-field for labour and environment in EU-UK relations

26-04-2021

The level playing-field (LPF) provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) constitute a key part of the agreement, and became a major source of divergence between the negotiators. LPF provisions establish rules to safeguard fair competition between the parties' businesses. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' ...

The level playing-field (LPF) provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) constitute a key part of the agreement, and became a major source of divergence between the negotiators. LPF provisions establish rules to safeguard fair competition between the parties' businesses. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' (TSD) chapters in other free trade agreements (FTAs). The trading relationship between the EU and the UK is fundamentally different from that with other non-EU countries since, on the one hand, EU laws were applicable to the UK until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and, on the other, these two economies neighbour each other and are strongly interconnected. The TCA is therefore designed to maintain sufficiently 'convergent' standards to safeguard fair competition, while providing each party with the freedom to implement its own approach to social and environmental protection. To this end, the TCA requires that parties do not weaken or reduce their levels of social, labour and environmental standards as of the end of 2020 (non-regression); the EU commitments on climate change, in particular on climate neutrality by 2050, will also remain for both parties. In addition, the TCA introduces rebalancing provisions creating a mechanism whereby a party can take 'proportionate measures' in order to offset any (adverse) 'material impacts on trade or investment' resulting from 'significant divergences' between parties. It also allows either party to request a review with a view to amending the agreement, and either party can opt to terminate the trade chapters if the amendment is not satisfactory. Although the TCA LPF provisions on labour and environment are in many respects similar to those in the EU's new generation FTAs, they strengthen the enforcement of non-regression provisions by allowing for remedial measures, and also reinforce the precautionary approach. The TCA also represents a notable innovation with its rebalancing and review provisions.

Russia–Ukraine stand-off ends – For now

23-04-2021

After a period of relative calm, the seven-year-old conflict in eastern Ukraine is heating up again. On the Russian side of the border, recent mass deployments of troops and weapons, now ended, led to fears that Moscow was considering further military aggression against Kyiv. The EU and its Western partners have expressed concern about escalating tensions, and affirmed their strong support for Ukraine.

After a period of relative calm, the seven-year-old conflict in eastern Ukraine is heating up again. On the Russian side of the border, recent mass deployments of troops and weapons, now ended, led to fears that Moscow was considering further military aggression against Kyiv. The EU and its Western partners have expressed concern about escalating tensions, and affirmed their strong support for Ukraine.

India: Economic indicators and trade with EU

22-04-2021

At the beginning of the century, the EU and India were growing exactly at the same path: how about today? Who is the main trade partner of India: China or the EU? And would you ever think that the EU exports to India pearls and precious stones more than optical instruments? And how much is it easy to do business in New Delhi? Find the answers to these and many more questions in our EPRS publication on ‘India: Economic indicators and trade with EU’, part of a series of infographics produced in collaboration ...

At the beginning of the century, the EU and India were growing exactly at the same path: how about today? Who is the main trade partner of India: China or the EU? And would you ever think that the EU exports to India pearls and precious stones more than optical instruments? And how much is it easy to do business in New Delhi? Find the answers to these and many more questions in our EPRS publication on ‘India: Economic indicators and trade with EU’, part of a series of infographics produced in collaboration with the European University Institute's GlobalStat on the world's main economies. This is an updated edition of an ‘At a Glance’ note published in September 2019.

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

22-04-2021

During the April plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the Council decision concluding the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This Agreement, which has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021, is the institutional framework, which, conditional on Parliament's consent, will govern the new EU-UK relationship. It establishes trade on zero-tariff/quota terms and covers a wide range of areas, including energy ...

During the April plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the Council decision concluding the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This Agreement, which has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021, is the institutional framework, which, conditional on Parliament's consent, will govern the new EU-UK relationship. It establishes trade on zero-tariff/quota terms and covers a wide range of areas, including energy, transport and fisheries.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - April 2021

21-04-2021

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

New Ethiopian dam sparks controversy among Nile states

21-04-2021

Successive negotiation rounds between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt about the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended in stalemate. This new dam, built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile (the Nile's main tributary), will bring into operation Africa's largest hydropower plant. It is expected to secure access to electricity for the majority of Ethiopians, to foster economic development and to provide revenues from the sale of surplus electricity abroad. For its part, Sudan ...

Successive negotiation rounds between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt about the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended in stalemate. This new dam, built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile (the Nile's main tributary), will bring into operation Africa's largest hydropower plant. It is expected to secure access to electricity for the majority of Ethiopians, to foster economic development and to provide revenues from the sale of surplus electricity abroad. For its part, Sudan expects the new dam will not only help regulate the flow of the Nile and prevent devastating floods but also provide access to cheap energy; still, it fears the new dam will hinder the yield of its own dam – Roseires – situated within a short distance downstream. Egypt too is worried about the potential impact of the new dam on its own Aswan High Dam, and that it will give Ethiopia control over the flow of the Nile and reduce the fresh water available for Egyptians. Yet again, the GERD has reignited a long rivalry about the sharing of waters among the Nile basin countries. Most – including Ethiopia – have signed a comprehensive framework agreement on the water management of the Nile and its tributaries. However, Sudan and Egypt have refused to take part in the Nile basin comprehensive framework agreement, unless it recognises their right to oversee the use of most of the Nile waters, which a bilateral treaty of 1959 accorded to them, but which is contested by other basin countries. The EU supports the African Union in the quest for a negotiated solution on the GERD, which risks further setbacks due to the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region. This is an update of a Briefing published in December 2020. The author acknowledges the assistance of Christian Meseth from the Directorate-General for External Policies (DG EXPO) with the updating.

Kommende begivenheder

10-05-2021
Lessons from a public health crisis: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care
Høring -
BECA
10-05-2021
ENVI Public Hearing on new genomic techniques in the food sector
Høring -
ENVI
10-05-2021
Public hearing on the EU long-term strategy towards Russia
Høring -
AFET

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