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Enhancing EU competitiveness [What Think Tanks are thinking]

13-12-2019

The European Union has been established as an area of security, stability and prosperity, in which economic competitiveness plays a key role. Although in terms of productivity some EU countries are doing well, compared to, for example, the United States, the EU is lagging behind some other world regions in reaping the fruits of the digital revolution. Analysts also point to the need to continue euro-area governance reforms, completing the Banking Union and pushing ahead with the creation of the Capital ...

The European Union has been established as an area of security, stability and prosperity, in which economic competitiveness plays a key role. Although in terms of productivity some EU countries are doing well, compared to, for example, the United States, the EU is lagging behind some other world regions in reaping the fruits of the digital revolution. Analysts also point to the need to continue euro-area governance reforms, completing the Banking Union and pushing ahead with the creation of the Capital Markets Union. A debate continues about whether the EU should support the creation of EU industrial champions, which advocates claim could be well placed to compete internationally in some sectors. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by international think tanks and research institutes on EU competitiveness and related issues. Earlier papers on reforming the euro area are available in a previous issue from the series, published in December 2019.

Review of dual-use export controls

26-11-2019

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous' EU list for cyber-surveillance technology featuring items that are not (yet) subject to multilateral export control. Moreover, the proposal seeks to introduce human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Fifth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Digital challenges for Europe [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-10-2019

The rapid development of digital technologies is posing a challenge to the European Union, spurring initiatives to catch up with the US and China in the area, notably in the context of the digital single market. Among the dilemmas are how to reconcile Europe’s sensitivity towards protecting private data with the need to use them in many algorithms, and ensure that automation and artificial intelligence strengthen rather than weaken labour market participation. This note offers links to a series of ...

The rapid development of digital technologies is posing a challenge to the European Union, spurring initiatives to catch up with the US and China in the area, notably in the context of the digital single market. Among the dilemmas are how to reconcile Europe’s sensitivity towards protecting private data with the need to use them in many algorithms, and ensure that automation and artificial intelligence strengthen rather than weaken labour market participation. This note offers links to a series of some recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on digital challenges. Many earlier papers on the issue can be found in a previous item in the series, published in July 2018. Many reports on cybersecurity are available in a publication from October 2018.

EU challenges at a time of transition [What Think Tanks are thinking]

06-09-2019

The European Union faces numerous challenges, both short and long-term, as it prepares to choose the new executive, a European Commission for the next five years, following elections to the European Parliament in May 2019. The most immediate task is for European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, to put together a college of Commissioners and secure its approval by the European Parliament. The EU is also engaged in difficult talks on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from ...

The European Union faces numerous challenges, both short and long-term, as it prepares to choose the new executive, a European Commission for the next five years, following elections to the European Parliament in May 2019. The most immediate task is for European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, to put together a college of Commissioners and secure its approval by the European Parliament. The EU is also engaged in difficult talks on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, currently due on 31 October. On the economic front, the EU needs to deal with the fallout of a trade conflict between the United States and China, and to boost its competitiveness, as the two other global powerhouses swiftly pursue the digitalisation of their economies. In the face of political volatility in the US, Europe should also consider enhancing its defence capabilities. Last, but not least, the Union must deliver on its pledge to remain the world’s leader in efforts to fight climate change. This note brings together recent commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on challenges facing the EU. More papers analysing the outcome of the European Elections can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’, published in July.

EU certification of aviation security screening equipment

07-07-2019

In 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a certification system for aviation security screening equipment. The proposal sought ‘to contribute to the proper functioning of the EU internal market and to increase the global competitiveness of the EU industry by establishing an EU certification system for aviation security equipment’. This system was to be based on EU type-approval and issuance of a certificate of conformity by manufacturers, which would have ...

In 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a certification system for aviation security screening equipment. The proposal sought ‘to contribute to the proper functioning of the EU internal market and to increase the global competitiveness of the EU industry by establishing an EU certification system for aviation security equipment’. This system was to be based on EU type-approval and issuance of a certificate of conformity by manufacturers, which would have been valid in all Member States, according to the principle of mutual recognition. Progress on the proposal rapidly reached a stalemate. Consequently, in its 2019 work programme, the Commission announced its intention to withdraw the proposal, noting that there was a common understanding that an EU certification system would be better reached by amending existing implementing legislation based on Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security. The proposal was formally withdrawn on 21 June 2019. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Industrial policy

28-06-2019

Through its industrial policy, the European Union (EU) has been striving to create conditions conducive to increasing industry growth and competitiveness since 1992. European industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, providing one job out of five, and is responsible for the bulk of EU exports and investment in research and innovation. Today, the aim of EU policy is to enable a successful transition towards digital, knowledge-based, decarbonised and more circular industry in Europe. To achieve ...

Through its industrial policy, the European Union (EU) has been striving to create conditions conducive to increasing industry growth and competitiveness since 1992. European industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, providing one job out of five, and is responsible for the bulk of EU exports and investment in research and innovation. Today, the aim of EU policy is to enable a successful transition towards digital, knowledge-based, decarbonised and more circular industry in Europe. To achieve this goal, the EU supports, coordinates and supplements Member State-level policies and actions, mainly in the areas of research and innovation, SMEs and digital technologies. In a Eurobarometer poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than half of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on industrial policy. Despite this, it is still the least understood policy area covered by the poll. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including investment (mainly through the European Fund for Strategic Investment, which supports industrial modernisation); digitalisation (for example setting up a number of research partnerships, or a growing network of digital innovation hubs); financing (making it easier for industry and SMEs to access public markets and attract venture funds); greener industry (for example through the revised 2030 emission targets, or measures on clean mobility); standardisation (bringing together relevant stakeholders to collectively develop and update European standards); and skills (mobilising key stakeholders to close the skills gap and providing an adequate workforce for modern industry). The European Parliament has called for ambitious policies in many of these areas. In the future, EU spending on key areas relevant to industrial policy is expected to rise moderately. The European Commission is proposing to boost the share of EU spending on research, SMEs and key infrastructure, although not as much as Parliament has requested. In the coming years, policies are likely to focus on seeking fairer global competition, stimulating innovation, building digital capacities and increasing the sustainability of European industry. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Regional policy

28-06-2019

The principal aim of the EU's regional policy, also known as cohesion policy, is to address the territorial, social and economic imbalances that exist between the different regions of the EU. Regional policy covers all regions and cities of the European Union, helping to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and to improve citizens' quality of life. To achieve these goals and address the diverse development needs in all EU regions, €351.8 billion ...

The principal aim of the EU's regional policy, also known as cohesion policy, is to address the territorial, social and economic imbalances that exist between the different regions of the EU. Regional policy covers all regions and cities of the European Union, helping to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and to improve citizens' quality of life. To achieve these goals and address the diverse development needs in all EU regions, €351.8 billion – almost one third of the total EU budget – has been set aside for cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 period. This financial support is distributed through two main funds: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF). Together with the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), they make up the European structural and investment (ESI) funds, which provide support that can make a real difference to the lives of people in the EU's regions. With the current programming period (2014-2020) drawing to a close, work is now under way on planning the cohesion policy priorities for the next programming period (2021-2027). During its 2014-2019 term the European Parliament was called upon numerous times to adopt new legislative acts, amend older rules and to provide opinions on many topics relating to the EU's regional policy. Within the European Parliament, the Committee on Regional Policy is responsible for the Union's regional development and cohesion policy, as set out in the Treaties. In anticipation of its expected withdrawal from the EU, the UK, until now a net contributor to the EU budget, will no longer contribute to the post-2020 EU budget, which means that the EU will have fewer resources to allocate to its policies in the future, including cohesion policy. The European Parliament has, however, strongly advocated maintaining the level of funding for cohesion policy at its current level or even increasing it. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Horizon Europe – Specific programme: Implementing the framework programme

15-05-2019

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe would introduce new features such as the ...

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe would introduce new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. While the proposal for the framework programme sets out the general and specific objective of Horizon Europe as well as the structure and the broad lines of the activities to be carried out, the specific programme aims to define the operational objectives and activities, especially for missions, the European Research Council, the European Innovation Council, work programmes, and the committee procedure. In April 2019, after several trilogue meetings, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement, covering the specific programme’s content. It does not however address budgetary issues, pending negotiations on the EU’s overall 2021-2027 long-term budget. Parliament thus adopted its first-reading position on 17 April 2019, and it is expected that further trilogue negotiations will take place in the new term.

Workshop on “Strengthening Competitiveness of the Internal Market by Developing the EU Customs Union and its Governance”

15-05-2019

This report summarises the discussion that took place at the workshop on “Strengthening Competitiveness of the Internal Market by Developing the EU Customs Union and its Governance”. The Union Customs Code is a key element of the ongoing actions to modernise EU customs. With the aim of discussing the main challenges related to this topic and the recent proposal of the European Commission to postpone the deadline of 2020, the workshop was hosted by Ms Virginie Rozière, MEP. This document was prepared ...

This report summarises the discussion that took place at the workshop on “Strengthening Competitiveness of the Internal Market by Developing the EU Customs Union and its Governance”. The Union Customs Code is a key element of the ongoing actions to modernise EU customs. With the aim of discussing the main challenges related to this topic and the recent proposal of the European Commission to postpone the deadline of 2020, the workshop was hosted by Ms Virginie Rozière, MEP. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Innovation in Europe [What Think Tanks are thinking]

29-03-2019

Innovation in the economy is a priority for the European Union, vital to its competitiveness globally, and for growth and jobs. The EU is implementing a number of policies and programmes that support innovation, through increased investment in research and development, and to better convert research into improved goods and services. Yet, according to many analysts, despite the roll-out of numerous pro-innovation initiatives, the EU is still lagging behind the United States and China both on innovation ...

Innovation in the economy is a priority for the European Union, vital to its competitiveness globally, and for growth and jobs. The EU is implementing a number of policies and programmes that support innovation, through increased investment in research and development, and to better convert research into improved goods and services. Yet, according to many analysts, despite the roll-out of numerous pro-innovation initiatives, the EU is still lagging behind the United States and China both on innovation and in relation to the related digitalisation process. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on innovation in the EU and related issues. More papers on innovation, notably on the digital economy, can be found in a previous item in this series. published in July 2018.

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