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Long-term vision for rural areas: European Commission communication

17-09-2021

In June 2021, the European Commission published a communication setting out a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas. The range of challenges facing such areas is acknowledged. They include issues relating to demographic change, such as the loss of population from remote rural areas, lower levels of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, poor access to services, and issues concerning connectivity. A lower proportion of households in rural regions have access to next generation broadband compared ...

In June 2021, the European Commission published a communication setting out a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas. The range of challenges facing such areas is acknowledged. They include issues relating to demographic change, such as the loss of population from remote rural areas, lower levels of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, poor access to services, and issues concerning connectivity. A lower proportion of households in rural regions have access to next generation broadband compared to the EU average. Tertiary education and basic digital skill levels are lower in rural areas and a significant gap exists between male and female employment rates. The share of young people aged 15 to 29 years neither in employment nor in education or training is higher in rural areas. The response set out in the Commission's communication includes proposals for a rural pact engaging actors at EU, national, regional and local levels to support the vision and an action plan to support stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas. A rural observatory will be established to improve data collection and analysis on the situation of rural areas. In support of its proposals, the Commission will put in place a rural proofing mechanism to assess the anticipated impact of major EU legislative initiatives on rural areas. Offering an initial analysis of the communication and its implications for future policy for rural areas, this briefing examines the challenges and opportunities these areas face. It summarises the views and responses of stakeholders regarding the Commission's long-term vision and the findings of the public consultation launched by the Commission in September 2020. Evidence is also presented on the levels of trust rural dwellers have in the different levels of governance. The key drivers that will shape rural areas between now and 2040 are identified from the findings of a foresight analysis undertaken by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which is included in the communication. Lastly, consideration is given to the experience of applying the rural proofing mechanism, including perspectives on its utility and application in practice.

Cost of crop protection measures

16-09-2021

Existing, new and emerging crop protection practices, including mechanical techniques, precision agriculture, biocontrol, plant breeding, induced crop resistance, application of ecological principles to increase biodiversity and use of 'green' plant protection products, could help to reduce the use of conventional plant protection products and were described in an earlier STOA study. This new study provides cost estimates for various alternative crop protection practice options in the EU

Existing, new and emerging crop protection practices, including mechanical techniques, precision agriculture, biocontrol, plant breeding, induced crop resistance, application of ecological principles to increase biodiversity and use of 'green' plant protection products, could help to reduce the use of conventional plant protection products and were described in an earlier STOA study. This new study provides cost estimates for various alternative crop protection practice options in the EU

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

DG, EPRS_This study has been written by A.B. Smit, J.H. Jager, M. Manshanden and J. Bremmer of Wageningen Research at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021: Process, challenges and expectations

10-09-2021

In October 2019, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General called for a UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS), to be held in 2021, aimed at launching bold action to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food – a crucial step in progressing on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Summit is due to take place on 23 September 2021, as a virtual event on the margins of the UN General Assembly taking place in New York. An in-person, three-day Pre-Summit in Rome preceded ...

In October 2019, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General called for a UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS), to be held in 2021, aimed at launching bold action to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food – a crucial step in progressing on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Summit is due to take place on 23 September 2021, as a virtual event on the margins of the UN General Assembly taking place in New York. An in-person, three-day Pre-Summit in Rome preceded the event on 26 28 July 2021. The Summit was announced before the Covid 19 pandemic became a hunger crisis in many parts of the world. The stakes have risen acutely since then, bringing a new sense of urgency. The coronavirus crisis has thus created an opportunity to raise the level of reform ambition for global food systems, but also sparked a heated debate around the directions and shared costs of this transformation. On 23 September 2021, the UN FSS delegates are due to wrap up the process started almost two years ago, which has generated a remarkable level of mobilisation, awareness, and public debate through multiple platforms. The process so far has demonstrated that while there is ample consensus on the need for a profound reform of food systems, views diverge as to how to attain this goal. Expectations are high and the task is daunting.

Research for ANIT Committee - Patterns of livestock transport in the EU and to third countries

03-09-2021

The in-depth analysis was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT). The paper provides an analysis of the main drivers and key features of livestock transport within the EU and to third countries.

The in-depth analysis was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT). The paper provides an analysis of the main drivers and key features of livestock transport within the EU and to third countries.

Development of organic production in the EU: 2021-2027 action plan

28-07-2021

In May 2020, the European Commission published its 'farm to fork' strategy – 'for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system' – along with the EU biodiversity strategy, as part of the implementation of the European Green Deal. In those strategies the Commission set a target of 25 % of the EU's agricultural land to be under organic farming by 2030, as well as a significant increase in organic aquaculture. These targets aim to contribute to improving the sustainability of the food system ...

In May 2020, the European Commission published its 'farm to fork' strategy – 'for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system' – along with the EU biodiversity strategy, as part of the implementation of the European Green Deal. In those strategies the Commission set a target of 25 % of the EU's agricultural land to be under organic farming by 2030, as well as a significant increase in organic aquaculture. These targets aim to contribute to improving the sustainability of the food system, to reverse biodiversity loss and to reduce the use of chemical substances in the form of pesticides and fertilisers. The Commission's 2021 work programme set out its intention to prepare an action plan for the development of organic production for the 2021 to 2027 period, and the action plan was published on 25 March 2021. Offering an initial analysis of the action plan, this briefing outlines the measures envisaged and the implications for different stages of the food chain in the EU. It also examines the results of the public consultation launched by the Commission in September 2020 to gather stakeholders' views on the challenges and opportunities for the organic sector. The views of key stakeholders in response to the publication of the action plan are also covered, along with the initial views expressed by the advisory committees.

Guidelines for foresight-based policy analysis

26-07-2021

Policy analysis examines and assesses problems to determine possible courses for policy action (policy options). In highly complex or controversial contexts, evidence-based policy options might not be socially acceptable. Here, policy analysis can benefit from a foresight-based approach, which helps investigate the issue holistically and assess considered evidence-based policy options against societal concerns. This is especially important in a parliamentary setting, as it enables analysts to consider ...

Policy analysis examines and assesses problems to determine possible courses for policy action (policy options). In highly complex or controversial contexts, evidence-based policy options might not be socially acceptable. Here, policy analysis can benefit from a foresight-based approach, which helps investigate the issue holistically and assess considered evidence-based policy options against societal concerns. This is especially important in a parliamentary setting, as it enables analysts to consider stakeholder views and geographical concerns/differences when assessing policy options. This manual establishes the methodology for the foresight process and foresight-informed policy analysis. It offers a conceptual clarification of foresight and foresight-based technology assessment, helps enhance the transparency of foresight processes and the quality of policy analyses, offers four general guidelines for conducting trustworthy policy analysis, and, finally, provides a practical framework with six basic components for foresight-based policy analysis.

At a glance note for Research for PECH committee: Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on EU fisheries and aquaculture

14-07-2021

This study analyses the effects of COVID-19 on the EU fisheries and aquaculture sectors from March to December 2020. It gives an overview of the main effects experienced at EU level and develops eight case studies (Spain, Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Portugal and Bulgaria). The research also provides conclusions and policy recommendations to strengthen the sector’s resilience to shocks, and to address current vulnerabilities in view of potential similar events. The study was commissioned ...

This study analyses the effects of COVID-19 on the EU fisheries and aquaculture sectors from March to December 2020. It gives an overview of the main effects experienced at EU level and develops eight case studies (Spain, Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Portugal and Bulgaria). The research also provides conclusions and policy recommendations to strengthen the sector’s resilience to shocks, and to address current vulnerabilities in view of potential similar events. The study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, at the request of the PECH Committee.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

Cogea: Alessandro PITITTO, Diletta RAINONE, Valentina SANNINO AND International: Tanguy CHEVER, Lucas HERRY, Sibylle PARANT, Safa SOUIDI CETMAR: Marta BALLESTEROS, Rosa CHAPELA, José L. SANTIAGO

Meeting the Green Deal objectives by alignment of technology and behaviour

09-07-2021

This study explores the prospects of aligning citizens' behaviour with the objectives of the European Green Deal in the domains of food consumption and mobility. Creating a climate-neutral and resource-efficient European economy requires a deep transformation of energy, mobility and food systems, as well as a change in production and consumption practices. Such profound change will impact both individuals and society. At the same time, the transition to sustainability will not succeed if people do ...

This study explores the prospects of aligning citizens' behaviour with the objectives of the European Green Deal in the domains of food consumption and mobility. Creating a climate-neutral and resource-efficient European economy requires a deep transformation of energy, mobility and food systems, as well as a change in production and consumption practices. Such profound change will impact both individuals and society. At the same time, the transition to sustainability will not succeed if people do not support it by adapting their behaviour and consumption patterns. This would imply change towards 'sustainable behaviour'. The study explores options for such sustainable behaviour, with a focus on mobility and food consumption. It identifies key challenges and possibilities in each domain and explores how technological solutions can help people adapt to sustainable behaviour in alignment with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

This study has been written by Annika Hedberg (with the focus on food consumption), Said El Khadraoui (with the focus on mobility), and Vadim Kononenko (with the focus on understanding sustainable behaviour) at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

EU rural development policy: Impact, challenges and outlook

08-07-2021

On 30 June 2021, the European Commission adopted a communication on its long-term vision for the EU's rural areas. The communication identifies areas of action with a view to creating new momentum for the EU's rural areas, while recognising their diversity. In recent decades, in many Member States rural areas have experienced depopulation. Such regions face a range of environmental and socio-economic challenges. These include, for example, lower income per capita, a higher percentage of the population ...

On 30 June 2021, the European Commission adopted a communication on its long-term vision for the EU's rural areas. The communication identifies areas of action with a view to creating new momentum for the EU's rural areas, while recognising their diversity. In recent decades, in many Member States rural areas have experienced depopulation. Such regions face a range of environmental and socio-economic challenges. These include, for example, lower income per capita, a higher percentage of the population at risk of poverty and social exclusion, a lack of access to basic infrastructure and services, and lower levels of access to fast broadband internet. The EU's rural development policy has sought to help address these challenges. Evaluation evidence is emerging on the impact of the common agricultural policy (CAP) on the territorial development of the EU's rural areas. Measures relating to village renewal and LEADER (Liaison entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie rurale) measures are considered to be well-targeted and relevant to local needs, although they represent a small proportion of CAP financing. Administrative burdens have been raised as an issue that can impact on the developmental process. Recommendations from this evaluation evidence point to the need for better integration of funding streams, the need to maintain a dialogue across the European structural funds, and all the implications this may have for the new CAP strategic plans. The Commission's recommendations to Member States on their CAP strategic plans highlight a number of recurring themes relating to the employment, education and training needs of rural areas, including the need to address rural depopulation, promote generational renewal, improve connectivity, and address the role played by action taken at local level. The Commission's communication on a long-term vision for rural areas includes provision for a 'rural pact' to engage actors at EU, national, rural and local levels and an EU rural action plan, setting out a range of initiatives and actionable projects. The vision and its supporting analyses will provide a framework for addressing the future of the EU's rural areas.

Protection of animals during transport: Data on live animal transport

07-07-2021

Each year, millions of live animals are transported by road, sea, rail and air within, and to and from, the European Union, for a number of reasons, such as slaughter, fattening or breeding. To protect their welfare during those journeys, the EU adopted Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. An evaluation of the regulation showed that, when correctly implemented and enforced, it had a positive impact on animal welfare. However, in some areas weaknesses still persist, largely ...

Each year, millions of live animals are transported by road, sea, rail and air within, and to and from, the European Union, for a number of reasons, such as slaughter, fattening or breeding. To protect their welfare during those journeys, the EU adopted Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. An evaluation of the regulation showed that, when correctly implemented and enforced, it had a positive impact on animal welfare. However, in some areas weaknesses still persist, largely due to insufficient implementation. In the light of these conclusions, and bearing in mind its 2012-2015 animal welfare strategy, the European Commission announced its intention to revise the animal welfare legislation, including legislation on animal transport. Despite the action taken, however, in recent years, repeated breaches of the rules, resulting in accidents and severe animal welfare crises, have been highlighted by EU and national control bodies and by animal welfare organisations. On 19 June 2020, the European Parliament set up the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT). The work of the committee focused on investigating how EU rules laid down in Regulation 1/2005 are being implemented by Member States and enforced by the European Commission. It held public hearings with the participation of stakeholders, representatives of national authorities and experts. Insight from these debates fed into the committee's report and recommendations to Council and the Commission. This briefing is one of four requested by the ANIT committee to provide research and analysis following the results of a questionnaire sent out by the committee to Member States. It gives an overview of available data on the transport of live animals.

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