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Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has over 50 sanctions programmes in place, concerning nearly 40 countries. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeting individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population. Other measures in the sanctions 'toolkit' include ...

In December 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code, which lays down the rules governing controls at the EU internal and external borders. While debates on the reform of Schengen have been going on for a while, recent challenges – relating to the coronavirus pandemic on the one hand, and attempts to instrumentalise migrants as a way to put pressure on the EU's external borders, on the other – have created new momentum for reform. The Commission's proposal ...

On 15 March 2024, the Commission put forward a regulation that would amend two regulations concerning the common agricultural policy (CAP) – the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation and the CAP Horizontal Regulation. The proposal is part of the Commission's response to widespread protests by farmers, opposing the CAP's administrative burden and environmental requirements. It was put forward without a formal public consultation and without an impact assessment. The proposal aims to reduce several environmental ...

Directive 2009/138/EC – also known as Solvency II – sets out the prudential regulatory framework for the insurance sector in the EU. The framework aims to establish the single market for insurance services further, while strengthening policyholders' protection. On 22 September 2021, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a directive that would amend Solvency II in essentially three ways: i) lowering regulatory obligations on small and low-risk profile insurance companies, ii) taking into account ...

In July 2023, the European Commission tabled a package of proposals aimed at greening freight transport. One of these proposals focuses on improving the use of rail infrastructure capacity. The proposed text suggests changes to the rules governing the planning and allocation of railway infrastructure capacity, which are currently outlined in Directive 2012/34/EU and Regulation (EU) No 913/2010. The goal of the changes is to enhance the management of rail infrastructure capacity and traffic as a way ...

In October 2022, under the European Green Deal, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a recast of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. Dating back to 1991, and instrumental to the achievement of European Union water policy objectives, the directive needs to be updated and adapted to new challenges and realities. The recast proposal would introduce new obligations to do more to control pollution due to rainwater, impose stricter standards for nutrient removal and require advanced treatment ...

This briefing provides background information for the Committee on Budgetary Control on the information currently available concerning the 100 largest recipients of funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

In 2003, at the Thessaloniki Summit, the European Council set out its determination to fully support the EU perspective of the Western Balkan countries. However, in the context of relatively limited progress in implementing reforms needed to align with the EU, none have joined since Croatia's accession in 2013, since when the region has been confronted by 'enlargement fatigue' and increasing Russian and Chinese interference. Responding to these challenges, European Commission President Ursula von ...

After years of pressure from civil society organisations and the European Parliament, in 2023 the European Commission tabled a proposal to improve the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) cross-border enforcement procedure. The proposal lays out detailed and innovative rules that would promote harmonisation, yet this analysis shows that more could be done to deliver on the promise of strong and timely enforcement. It follows from the nature of the Commission's targeted approach that the scope ...

The impact assessment (IA) defines the problems, their drivers, the objectives and the options of the initiative in a robust intervention logic. It is based on several sources, including the 'fitness check' of current EU animal welfare legislation, an external supporting study and stakeholder feedback. The IA presents a range of policy options; however, for some options, it does not provide alternatives. The assessment of the options' impacts (economic, social, environmental, animal welfare) is qualitative ...