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Posted on 15-10-2021

Current membership of the European Council October 2021

15-10-2021

The European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's ...

The European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's membership.

Youth in Europe: Effects of COVID-19 on their economic and social situation

12-10-2021

The full study analyses the effects of COVID-19 on youth unemployment, inactivity, work-based learning and mental health. The analysis is based on quantitative indicators and qualitative information from surveys and policy documents. It discusses the probability of long-term 'scarring effects', comparing the impact of the current crisis to that of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis and its aftermath

The full study analyses the effects of COVID-19 on youth unemployment, inactivity, work-based learning and mental health. The analysis is based on quantitative indicators and qualitative information from surveys and policy documents. It discusses the probability of long-term 'scarring effects', comparing the impact of the current crisis to that of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis and its aftermath

Updating the framework for the safety of non-food consumer products on the internal market

15-10-2021

This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the impact assessment (IA) accompanying the Commission proposal for a regulation on general product safety aimed at ensuring that EU consumers are protected from dangerous non-food products. The IA defines clearly the problems to be addressed and their analysis appears to be satisfactory but the description of how they would evolve without any EU intervention is limited. The IA does not compare the retained options in terms ...

This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the impact assessment (IA) accompanying the Commission proposal for a regulation on general product safety aimed at ensuring that EU consumers are protected from dangerous non-food products. The IA defines clearly the problems to be addressed and their analysis appears to be satisfactory but the description of how they would evolve without any EU intervention is limited. The IA does not compare the retained options in terms of efficiency, and proportionality. The IA appears to have done a convincing analysis of the economic and social impacts of the options retained for assessment. The IA includes a very comprehensive reports of the consultations held, specifically referring to the received feedback in several parts of the report. Overall, the analysis carried out in the IA appears to be well grounded. The IA appears to have addressed the RSB's comments. The proposal appears to be largely consistent with the analysis provided in the IA.

Outlook for the European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021

15-10-2021

The regular European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021 will discuss the coronavirus pandemic, digital policy, migration, energy prices and external relations. Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, EU Heads of State or Government will focus on EU coordination, resilience and readiness in terms of health crises and the EU's future preparedness for the short and medium terms. The discussions at the meeting on both digital policy and on migration are expected to be stock-taking exercises, assessing ...

The regular European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021 will discuss the coronavirus pandemic, digital policy, migration, energy prices and external relations. Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, EU Heads of State or Government will focus on EU coordination, resilience and readiness in terms of health crises and the EU's future preparedness for the short and medium terms. The discussions at the meeting on both digital policy and on migration are expected to be stock-taking exercises, assessing the implementation of previous European Council decisions and possibly adding further specifications to them. If the update of the Schengen Borders Code were to be addressed in the context of migration, this could generate a strong debate, since despite overall support for strong external EU borders, Member States have diverging views on how border protection should be assured. EU leaders could also debate energy prices at length, as the issue has become high profile in many Member States. Regarding external relations, discussions in the European Council will focus on preparations for forthcoming international events, notably the ASEM and the Eastern Partnership summits, and the COP26 climate conference. In addition, the Presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, may brief EU Heads of State or Government on the recent EU-Ukraine Summit, held on 12 October 2021.

European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA): Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission's initiative

15-10-2021

This Briefing forms part of an EPRS series which offers a synthesis of the pre-legislative state-of-play and advance consultation on a range of key European Commission priorities during the latter’s five-year term in office. It seeks to summarise the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examine how existing policy is working on the ground, and identify best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of European system of multilevel governance ...

This Briefing forms part of an EPRS series which offers a synthesis of the pre-legislative state-of-play and advance consultation on a range of key European Commission priorities during the latter’s five-year term in office. It seeks to summarise the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examine how existing policy is working on the ground, and identify best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of European system of multilevel governance. This analysis of the positions of partner organisations at EU, national, regional and local levels suggests that they would like the following main considerations to be reflected in discussion of the legislative proposal to establish an emergency framework for a European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA): * Governmental organisations at all levels advocate a robust operational and infrastructural framework, with a long-term vision, a coherent legal structure and efficient decision-making procedures. They generally favour a comprehensive impact assessment in advance of the establishment of HERA. * Public authorities at national, regional and local levels suggest that the HERA should develop a strong relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO). Some governmental organisations especially stress the need for robust links with developing countries. * Public authorities agree on the need for a clear interface between HERA, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). A further issue is the relationship between HERA and existing EU operational crisis management mechanisms, where national authorities recommend avoiding duplication of work. They also suggest taking into account regional and local circumstances in a coordinated crisis response. * Many governmental organisations hold a rather positive view of the interaction between the EU and the national levels, where HERA could have a beneficial coordinating role, although some public authorities have expressed concern about possible conflicts of competence between national and EU levels in the health sector.

Looking to Glasgow: A scene-setter ahead of COP26

15-10-2021

Adopted in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has gathered the nations of the world with the common goal to limit dangerous global warming. In December 2021, after having been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus crisis, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP26) to continue negotiations on the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ...

Adopted in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has gathered the nations of the world with the common goal to limit dangerous global warming. In December 2021, after having been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus crisis, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP26) to continue negotiations on the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underscores the of role human activities in causing global warming. The UNFCCC-commissioned IPCC special report on impacts of global warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5) also outlines the risks of current trajectories. There is therefore strong pressure on world leaders to deliver progress in Glasgow. Parties to the Paris Agreement were required to update their nationally determined contributions to fight climate change and its impacts before COP26. Some Parties are yet to do so, while analysis of submitted contributions as of July 2021, shows action to reach the agreed targets remains insufficient. Most key emitting nations continue to rate poorly on their climate action performance. While COP24 and COP25 both failed to finalise the Paris Agreement rulebook, and developed nations so far fall short of fulfilling their climate finance promises, expectations are mounting for Glasgow to finish the job. At the same time, Covid 19 restrictions and impacts continue to create challenges to participate in person, especially for developing countries' delegations. Recent Eurobarometer surveys show citizens have a clear expectation that their governments should handle the climate change challenge, with research also pointing to a growing acceptance of the need to change personal habits in view of transitioning to more sustainable economies. The European Parliament will vote on a motion for a resolution on COP26 at the October II plenary session in Strasbourg. The draft highlights the urgency of action and calls upon leaders to ensure a just transition and adequate support for areas and states vulnerable to climate change impacts.

The future of humanitarian aid in a new context full of challenges

21-09-2021

In light of the current highly challenging background of humanitarian intervention for the European Union and international humanitarian donors, the European Commission has adopted a Communication on the EU’s humanitarian action: new challenges, same principles. It provides guidelines on how the EU may face this challenge in collaboration with Member States and donor partners. The Communication focuses on two main areas: (1) addressing needs, reducing the funding gap, and (2) supporting an enabling ...

In light of the current highly challenging background of humanitarian intervention for the European Union and international humanitarian donors, the European Commission has adopted a Communication on the EU’s humanitarian action: new challenges, same principles. It provides guidelines on how the EU may face this challenge in collaboration with Member States and donor partners. The Communication focuses on two main areas: (1) addressing needs, reducing the funding gap, and (2) supporting an enabling environment for humanitarian aid. Through an analysis of the Communication’s seven objectives, the authors address key actions and provide final recommendations. Furthermore, authors evaluate which key actions are the most promising, critical or challenging, which have already been partially implemented and which should be prioritised. Implementation of the key actions is generally well developed, albeit many are found to share certain critical issues. These refer specifically to the need for: increased transparency and accountability; enhancing EU coordination with donor partners; and significantly strengthening the EU’s leadership role. Moreover, the implementation of key actions must take greater account of dialogue and coordination both in the decision-making phase as well as in the implementation of humanitarian aid on the ground.

External author

Francesca PUSTERLA; Elia R.G. PUSTERLA

European Banks’ Response to COVID-19 “Quick Fix” Regulation and Other Measures

30-09-2021

The original full study presents data from 27 banking groups in 10 EU Member States, where it is found that banks have used COVID-19 relief measures extensively, with some cross-country differences as for the intensity of use. Flexibility in risk classification does not seem to have impaired banks’ ability to report and recognise risk properly, even for loans under moratoria. The findings suggest that the impact of the measures on banks’ credit supply has been overall positive and mainly driven ...

The original full study presents data from 27 banking groups in 10 EU Member States, where it is found that banks have used COVID-19 relief measures extensively, with some cross-country differences as for the intensity of use. Flexibility in risk classification does not seem to have impaired banks’ ability to report and recognise risk properly, even for loans under moratoria. The findings suggest that the impact of the measures on banks’ credit supply has been overall positive and mainly driven by capital-enhancing measures such as the “Quick fix”.

External author

Brunella BRUNO and Filippo DE MARCO

Posted on 14-10-2021

Parliament's reading of the 2022 EU budget

14-10-2021

During the October II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on amendments to the Council's position on the draft EU budget for 2022. The 2022 budget is the second one under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027. It is also the second year of the EU Recovery Instrument, Next Generation EU (NGEU), planned to run for the years 2021 to 2023. The report of the Committee on Budgets reverses the reductions proposed by the Council. Furthermore, it proposes a considerable ...

During the October II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on amendments to the Council's position on the draft EU budget for 2022. The 2022 budget is the second one under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027. It is also the second year of the EU Recovery Instrument, Next Generation EU (NGEU), planned to run for the years 2021 to 2023. The report of the Committee on Budgets reverses the reductions proposed by the Council. Furthermore, it proposes a considerable increase in the contributions of the 2022 budget to Parliament's priorities, in particular the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. The BUDG report sets the 2022 EU budget at €171.8 billion in commitments. For payments, it proposes almost €172.47 billion.

EU-China relations in challenging times

14-10-2021

Following the 1975 establishment of diplomatic relations with China, the European Economic Community (EEC) focused its strategic approach – in line with its competences at the time – on support for China's economic opening, launched in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping. While this approach resulted in a swiftly expanding trade and investment relationship, results in other areas are rather mixed. By most accounts, the strategy also failed to contribute to making significant progress on the rule of law in China ...

Following the 1975 establishment of diplomatic relations with China, the European Economic Community (EEC) focused its strategic approach – in line with its competences at the time – on support for China's economic opening, launched in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping. While this approach resulted in a swiftly expanding trade and investment relationship, results in other areas are rather mixed. By most accounts, the strategy also failed to contribute to making significant progress on the rule of law in China and there were no visible results of the EU's human rights engagement. Given that, at the beginning of Deng's reforms, China was very poor, the EEC/European Union (EU) de facto agreed to an arrangement for special and differential treatment, linked to China's status as a developing country. However, with China having become an upper-middle income country and the bilateral trade relationship still characterised by considerable asymmetries, the existing lack of reciprocity in market access and of a level playing field in general have attracted increasing attention. At the same time, China has been regressing in terms of human rights. Furthermore, the country has become much more assertive in the regional context, is fast improving its (offensive) military capabilities and has started to engage in global disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks. As a consequence, the EU has changed its strategic approach considerably, as exemplified by the 2019 Joint Communication, which proposed different legal instruments to ensure a level playing field in trade, and to fend off Chinese attempts to gain access to critical infrastructures. Relations with the European Parliament have deteriorated, pushing Parliament to put the comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) – which had been agreed on 30 December 2020 – on ice.

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