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An electoral threshold for the allocation of seats is the minimum percentage of votes that a political party or a coalition is required to collect in order to gain a seat in the legislative assembly. Thresholds are said to enable a better balance between governability and representativeness, by favouring the formation of stable majorities and avoiding excessive fragmentation of the legislative assembly. Thresholds are sometimes imposed by law, but in the absence of an explicit legal requirement, ...

European health data space

Briefing 18-04-2024

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the growing importance of digital health technologies, both to enable remote medical care and to facilitate the health response from international, national and local authorities. The European Commission's May 2022 proposal for a regulation on a European health data space aims to improve individuals' access to and control over their electronic personal data (primary use), while facilitating data re-use for the good of society across the EU (secondary use). The ...

Drawing on a wide array of sources and literature, this study examines the role of the European Parliament in the establishment of the European Community's social policy. It argues that Parliament played a key role in placing this nascent policy issue on the agenda. It influenced the definition of what the policy should include, what it should focus on, and which instruments should be used to address social problems. In this process, Parliament filtered ideas, issues and political objectives from ...

To evaluate the European Union’s (EU) policy framework towards China, this study analyses the varied facets of bilateral relations and the EU’s approach towards China, including its policy of de-risking, together with issues relating to China’s domestic politics and foreign policy. It highlights the need for the EU to adopt a coherent vision and a comprehensive and consistent long-term China strategy that can guide its future actions towards China and on the world stage. Based on its findings, it ...

International trade is not gender neutral. Both inside and outside Europe, trade liberalisation has gender differentiated impacts, stemming from women and men's unequal access to resources and their different positions on labour markets, in households and in society. The challenge for EU policy makers is therefore to ensure that both women and men in the EU and partner countries enjoy gains from trade agreements and are protected from negative impacts and, more broadly, that EU trade policy contributes ...

The Roma are Europe's largest ethnic minority. Out of an estimated total of 10 to 12 million Roma in Europe as a whole, some 6 million live in the European Union (EU) and most of them are citizens of an EU Member State. A significant number of Roma people live in very poor socio-economic conditions. The social exclusion, discrimination and segregation they face are mutually reinforcing. Their restricted access to education and difficulties entering the labour market result in low income and poor ...

Across the European Union (EU), national provisions regarding the right to vote for citizens living abroad are not consistent. However, recent legislative changes seem to suggest a positive trend towards allowing out-of-country voting in most EU Member States. When it comes to voting from abroad, countries need to carefully assess and address various issues. These include: the identification of potential voters; how to inform them about their right to vote and stand as a candidate from abroad; the ...

Haiti in a spiral of violence

At a Glance 20-03-2024

The multidimensional crisis and spiralling violence in Haiti has reached its peak, with criminal gangs in control of 80 % of the capital Port-au-Prince. On 11 March 2024, Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced his resignation. Hopes lie with a transitional governance arrangement that was agreed at a meeting in Jamaica between Haitian stakeholders, CARICOM and representatives from the international community. The installation of the Transitional Presidential Council is a precondition set by Kenya to ...

The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017. Spelled out in 20 principles, the social pillar has since served as a compass towards building a stronger social Europe. In the related action plan, the Commission set out concrete initiatives and, after the Porto Social Summit of May 2021, EU lawmakers committed to headline targets for 2030 regarding employment, training, and poverty. Consequently, this legislative term has seen ...

Plenary round-up – March 2024

At a Glance 15-03-2024

Among the highlights of the March 2024 plenary session were the debates on preparation of the European Council meeting on 21 and 22 March 2024; the need to address urgent concerns regarding Ukrainian children forcibly deported to Russia, and the need to ensure the stability of EU agricultural production and impose sanctions on imports of Russian and Belarussian food and agricultural products to the EU. Members also debated the return of Romanian national treasure illegally appropriated by Russia. ...