75

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Complementary executive capacity

15-02-2021

Against the backdrop of new and unprecedented crises and challenges, the advantages of coordinated approaches and effective cross-border responses are all the more evident, and gaining support among Europeans, as shown by recent Eurobarometer surveys. In this context, EU complementary executive capacity could be a way of meeting citizens' expectations, through complementing, without replacing, the executive capacities of the Member States. The concept of complementary EU executive capacity dovetails ...

Against the backdrop of new and unprecedented crises and challenges, the advantages of coordinated approaches and effective cross-border responses are all the more evident, and gaining support among Europeans, as shown by recent Eurobarometer surveys. In this context, EU complementary executive capacity could be a way of meeting citizens' expectations, through complementing, without replacing, the executive capacities of the Member States. The concept of complementary EU executive capacity dovetails naturally with the ongoing transformation of the EU from a legislative union to a hybrid (legislative–executive) union, as it becomes more involved in implementing law rather than purely enacting it. Essentially, the notion repackages pre-existing administrative practices in a way that facilitates their operationalisation, draws attention to new areas of potential EU executive involvement, and presents a tool for communication with citizens that can be understood.

EU response to the coronavirus pandemic: Citizens' views and expectations

17-12-2020

Citizens' expectations regarding European Union (EU) policy involvement and spending in healthcare and economic growth were already increasing before the coronavirus pandemic. These rising expectations created a gap between their demands and their evaluation of current EU action. At the same time, trust in the EU is at its highest level for a decade, and higher than the average level of trust in national governments. Apart from the direct consequences for health, the pandemic caused a wide spectrum ...

Citizens' expectations regarding European Union (EU) policy involvement and spending in healthcare and economic growth were already increasing before the coronavirus pandemic. These rising expectations created a gap between their demands and their evaluation of current EU action. At the same time, trust in the EU is at its highest level for a decade, and higher than the average level of trust in national governments. Apart from the direct consequences for health, the pandemic caused a wide spectrum of financial difficulties for people in the EU. A fear of future loss of income and widespread uncertainty became the prevailing emotional status of Europeans, although the level of hope is also considerable. The EU response to the pandemic aligns with citizens' preferences for areas of priority action and spending, especially with the introduction of the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery package. However, neither the scope of EU competences, nor the flexibility of EU finances, allow for immediate and full closure of the gap between citizens' preferences and their evaluation of EU action. Citizens' evaluation of the measures implemented by the EU to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences are almost equally divided between the positive and negative. In the context of the pandemic, there is a significant change of preference among Europeans regarding the size of EU financial means. An absolute majority of Europeans would like the EU to have more competences (66 %) and greater financial means (54 %) to fight the pandemic. This leads to the hypothesis that a lack of sufficient EU competences is a factor contributing to a degree of popular dissatisfaction with the EU in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Legal obstacles in Member States to Single Market rules (At A Glance - Study In Focus)

02-12-2020

This At A Glance summarises the key findings of the original study, which reviewed and analysed national rules that restrict the free movement of goods and services and the right to establishment across the EU Single Market. The study also analysed trends over time in national restrictions and offers recommendations on how they can be removed. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Internal Market ...

This At A Glance summarises the key findings of the original study, which reviewed and analysed national rules that restrict the free movement of goods and services and the right to establishment across the EU Single Market. The study also analysed trends over time in national restrictions and offers recommendations on how they can be removed. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

External author

Erik DAHLBERG et al.

Single market information tool (SMIT)

30-09-2020

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by price discrimination based on residency. While many market players do not cooperate with the Commission, for instance not disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. The SMIT proposal would provide the Commission with powers such as to request business-related information (e.g. cost structure or product volumes ...

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by price discrimination based on residency. While many market players do not cooperate with the Commission, for instance not disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. The SMIT proposal would provide the Commission with powers such as to request business-related information (e.g. cost structure or product volumes sold), and to address market failures in a more efficient way. The SMIT, however, has raised some criticism in the Council and EP, inter alia, because of the Commission’s choice of the legal basis for the proposal. Parliament’s Legal Service stated in an opinion that the correct legal basis for the Commission proposal is Article 337 TFEU: a legal basis which gives no legislative role for the EP. On 12 July 2018, the IMCO committee adopted a report which would amend the proposal’s legal basis. The JURI committee subsequently adopted an opinion stating that the Commission proposal goes beyond the powers available under the proposed revised legal basis. The report was initially due to be voted in plenary in October 2018, but was taken off the agenda. As the parliamentary term has concluded, the report has now lapsed. The European Commission withdrew this legislative proposal on 29 September 2020. The procedure has thus ended.

Unlocking the potential of the EU Treaties: An article-by-article analysis of the scope for action

28-05-2020

The latest Eurobarometer surveys indicate that there is consistent support for more EU action in various policy areas, including preventing climate change, tackling irregular migration, designing a common foreign and security policy and preventing terrorism. Assuming that the Treaty of Lisbon will be the framework for EU action for the foreseeable future, this paper explores possibilities for broadening the scope of EU action in order to respond to these repeated calls from EU citizens. With a view ...

The latest Eurobarometer surveys indicate that there is consistent support for more EU action in various policy areas, including preventing climate change, tackling irregular migration, designing a common foreign and security policy and preventing terrorism. Assuming that the Treaty of Lisbon will be the framework for EU action for the foreseeable future, this paper explores possibilities for broadening the scope of EU action in order to respond to these repeated calls from EU citizens. With a view to reappraising the legal framework of the EU, it aims at identifying those legal bases in the Treaties that remain either under-used (in terms of the purposes they could be used to achieve) or completely unused. It analyses possible ways of delivering on EU policies, including in the development of common rules, providing enhanced executive capacity, better implementation of existing measures, targeted financing and increased efficiency. An overview table sets out possible initiatives, which are then explored in greater detail in 50 fiches, organised according to broad policy clusters reflecting the priorities of the von der Leyen Commission. Possible measures are mentioned in each fiche, along with the legal bases in the current Treaties on which action could potentially be based. It is a revised and expanded version of a paper published in January 2019, ahead of the European elections.

Understanding environmental taxation

16-01-2020

Environmental taxation is one way of encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly choices; employed in combination with the other instruments available, it can help bring about the adjustments required to tackle the environmental and climate challenges facing us today. The aim of environmental taxation, in principle, is to factor environmental damage, or negative externalities, into prices in order to steer production and consumption choices in a more eco-friendly direction. Environmental taxation ...

Environmental taxation is one way of encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly choices; employed in combination with the other instruments available, it can help bring about the adjustments required to tackle the environmental and climate challenges facing us today. The aim of environmental taxation, in principle, is to factor environmental damage, or negative externalities, into prices in order to steer production and consumption choices in a more eco-friendly direction. Environmental taxation can potentially address all aspects of environmental protection and conservation. The fight against climate change, pollution – especially air and water pollution – and pressure on the environment, in particular from resource consumption and biodiversity loss, as well as contributory factors, such as gas emissions and the use of potentially harmful substances, can be the subject of tax measures. These are general or sectoral measures which are applied in different ways by individual states and their regional and local authorities. In the European Union, environmental policy and tax policy determine the scope for action of Member States and the Union. Existing environmental taxation measures account for a modest share of national tax revenue. Although the environmental aims are generally acknowledged as valid, when environmental taxation measures are implemented a range of factors must be taken into account, in particular competitiveness and fairness, to ensure that environmental taxation is sufficiently transparent to gain acceptance and so become an effective instrument in the transition that society now so urgently needs.

EU Public Health Policies: State of play, current and future challenges

17-09-2019

This study provides an outlook on the topics that may shape the ENVI Committee’s public health agenda during the new legislature. It describes key public health definitions, principles and concepts, discusses the EU’s powers to act on health, and presents an overview of health policy developments and challenges. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament.

This study provides an outlook on the topics that may shape the ENVI Committee’s public health agenda during the new legislature. It describes key public health definitions, principles and concepts, discusses the EU’s powers to act on health, and presents an overview of health policy developments and challenges. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament.

External author

Nikolai PUSHKAREV, Fiona GODFREY, Sascha MARSCHANG, Zoltán, MASSAY-KOSUBEK, Yannis NATSIS, Ann Marie BORG, Vivana GALLI

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: International trade and globalisation

28-06-2019

The European Community was founded on the belief that economic integration leads to peace and economic prosperity. Trade is therefore a fundamental part of the identity of the European Union (EU) today. Given the success of the internal market in fostering the longest period of European peace in modern history, the EU considers itself an example of the benefits of trade, globalisation and economic openness. International trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU, and with the combined economic ...

The European Community was founded on the belief that economic integration leads to peace and economic prosperity. Trade is therefore a fundamental part of the identity of the European Union (EU) today. Given the success of the internal market in fostering the longest period of European peace in modern history, the EU considers itself an example of the benefits of trade, globalisation and economic openness. International trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU, and with the combined economic weight of its Member States behind it, the EU is one of the key players in global trade. Yet trade policy is about more than stability and growth for the EU, as it is also used to encourage poor countries to develop, foster international alliances and support fundamental values in the world. A strong partner in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the EU backs an international trading system based on rules rather than might. The benefits of globalisation and international trade have nevertheless been questioned in recent years, including within the EU. This has led it to reinvigorate its trade policy, in particular by presenting a new trade strategy and a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation. The EU's new 'trade for all' strategy addresses criticisms and focuses on making its trade policy more effective, transparent and value-based. In line with this strategy, the EU has pursued ongoing trade negotiations with renewed vigour and launched new trade and investment talks, resulting in state-of-the-art agreements with countries such as Canada and Japan. The EU faces uncertain times due to major shifts in international trade, coming from both the West and the East. In response, it seeks to promote economic openness, standing up for its values and protecting its interests. For example, the EU has retaliated against United States (US) steel tariffs and continues to defend the rules-based international trading order. Contentious trading practices on the part of third countries, including China, have led the EU to modernise its trade defence instruments, prepare a new foreign investment screening mechanism and seek a reform of the WTO. The EU is likely to continue this approach in the coming term, pursuing international cooperation and new agreements, possibly also at a continental level with Africa, and striving to protect its citizens and businesses from economic harm. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU investment protection after the ECJ Opinion on Singapore: Questions of competence and coherence

25-03-2019

Investment protection continues to be a controversial issue, as shown in particular during the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To address stakeholder concerns, the EU has moved from traditional investor-state dispute settlement arrangements towards introducing bilateral investment court systems in new agreements and pursuing the goal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment ...

Investment protection continues to be a controversial issue, as shown in particular during the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To address stakeholder concerns, the EU has moved from traditional investor-state dispute settlement arrangements towards introducing bilateral investment court systems in new agreements and pursuing the goal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment court. At the same time, the European Court of Justice defined the limits of the Union’s exclusive competence in its opinion of 16 May 2017 with regard to the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which has led to the splitting of new FTAs into two parts, treating investment protection separately. Adding to the complex picture, a plethora of EU Member States’ bilateral investment treaties also remain in place. The workshop held by the Committee on International Trade took stock of existing EU investment protection provisions and analysed the options for a coherent and predictable dispute settlement system in line with the EU Treaties.

External author

Prof. Dr. Steffen HINDELANG, LL.M., Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark, and Dr. Jurgita BAUR, Germany; and Prof. Dr. Stephan SCHILL, LL.M., Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Universal jurisdiction and international crimes: Constraints and best practices

17-09-2018

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), in association with the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Academics and practitioners discussed international trends as regards the concept of universal jurisdiction and the EU’s approach to promoting universal jurisdiction through its external relations, as well as practical experience in applying universal ...

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), in association with the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Academics and practitioners discussed international trends as regards the concept of universal jurisdiction and the EU’s approach to promoting universal jurisdiction through its external relations, as well as practical experience in applying universal jurisdiction in the fight against impunity in Europe. The experts agreed that universal jurisdiction can play a role as part of a wider accountability strategy, complementary to international courts and prosecutions on other jurisdictional bases. They recommended more specialised training for investigators, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement staff for universal jurisdiction cases and more cooperation at EU and international level. Speakers supported the initiative for a multilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance and extradition. Special attention in universal jurisdiction cases must be given to victims seeking justice, including for sexual and gender-based crimes.

External author

Julia KREBS, Cedric RYNGAERT, Florian JEßBERGER

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