106

result(s)

Word(s)
Publication type
Policy area
Author
Keyword
Date

Irrigation in EU agriculture

13-12-2019

Irrigation is the provision of water to help crops grow when rainfall is not sufficient. While new farming methods and technologies allow some types of crops to be grown without soil, a certain amount of water is needed to grow any kind of crop. In today's economy, agriculture is one of the sectors that consumes the most water resources. Irrigation is the major cause of water consumption in agriculture. It contributes to increasing crop productivity, but it is also a threat to the preservation of ...

Irrigation is the provision of water to help crops grow when rainfall is not sufficient. While new farming methods and technologies allow some types of crops to be grown without soil, a certain amount of water is needed to grow any kind of crop. In today's economy, agriculture is one of the sectors that consumes the most water resources. Irrigation is the major cause of water consumption in agriculture. It contributes to increasing crop productivity, but it is also a threat to the preservation of water resources. Therefore, the issue of water scarcity requires careful reflection on the trade-off between higher agricultural productivity and the deterioration of water resources. A number of elements determine the amount of irrigation water used in agriculture, from the types of crop and cropping method to the characteristics of the soil and the irrigation technique, to name just a few. Therefore, agriculture itself provides opportunities for better water management and water savings, through both traditional farm practices and new farming technologies. Irrigation has been a feature of European agriculture for thousands of years. Not surprisingly, the majority of irrigated agricultural areas are in the EU’s southern regions, in particular in Spain and Italy. However, there are areas equipped for irrigation elsewhere, especially in the Netherlands. Over 40 % of the EU's water use is on agriculture, and most of the freshwater abstraction is for agricultural use in countries like Greece, Spain, and Cyprus. Prolonged periods of drought in many parts of the Union, the effects of climate change and pollution, as well as competition over use add further pressure on EU waters. Ensuring food security in view of climate change requires improvement in water-management capacity, including making users (farmers) more responsible. In recent times, the environmental performance of sectoral policies, such as in the area of agriculture, is increasingly scrutinised by citizens, stakeholders, and policy-makers. Various EU policy initiatives have been launched to address the challenge of sustainable water use in agriculture, including a more integrated approach to water management, water re-use, research and innovation, and more environmental ambition in the agricultural policy. Better policy coordination between EU policies and actions is seen as key to achieving the sustainable safeguarding of EU waters.

Amazon wildfire crisis: Need for an international response

29-11-2019

The Amazon rainforest, which is the largest ecosystem of its kind on Earth and is shared by eight South American countries as well as an EU outermost region, was ravaged by fires coinciding with last summer’s dry season. However, most of these fires are set intentionally and are linked to increased human activities in the area, such as the expansion of agriculture and cattle farming, illegal logging, mining and fuel extraction. Although a recurrent phenomenon that has been going on for decades, some ...

The Amazon rainforest, which is the largest ecosystem of its kind on Earth and is shared by eight South American countries as well as an EU outermost region, was ravaged by fires coinciding with last summer’s dry season. However, most of these fires are set intentionally and are linked to increased human activities in the area, such as the expansion of agriculture and cattle farming, illegal logging, mining and fuel extraction. Although a recurrent phenomenon that has been going on for decades, some governments' recent policies appear to have contributed to the increase in the surface area burnt in 2019, in particular in Brazil and Bolivia. Worldwide media coverage of the fires, and international and domestic protests against these policies have nevertheless finally led to some initiatives to seriously tackle the fires, both at national and international level – such as the Leticia Pact for Amazonia. Finding a viable long-term solution to end deforestation and achieve sustainable development in the region, requires that the underlying causes are addressed and further action is taken at both national and international levels. The EU is making, and can increase, its contribution by cooperating with the affected countries and by leveraging the future EU-Mercosur Association Agreement to help systematic law enforcement action against deforestation. In addition, as the environmental commitments made at the 2015 Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris will have to be renewed in 2020, COP25 in December 2019 could help reach new commitments on forests.

Cultural heritage in EU discourse and in the Horizon 2020 programme

22-11-2019

The EU recognises its Member States' collective cultural heritage both as a European legacy and as a contributor to EU growth and development. That is why, the Horizon 2020 programme was singled out as one of the 'new generation of EU instruments' to safeguard and enhance the EU's cultural heritage. Between 2014 and early 2019, €495 million was invested in Horizon 2020 research actions related to the EU's cultural heritage to achieve this goal, and experts recognise programme’s achievements. The ...

The EU recognises its Member States' collective cultural heritage both as a European legacy and as a contributor to EU growth and development. That is why, the Horizon 2020 programme was singled out as one of the 'new generation of EU instruments' to safeguard and enhance the EU's cultural heritage. Between 2014 and early 2019, €495 million was invested in Horizon 2020 research actions related to the EU's cultural heritage to achieve this goal, and experts recognise programme’s achievements. The new 2021-2027 Horizon Europe programme should continue and enhance its support as well as contribute to keeping the legacy of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Financing EU external action in the new MFF, 2021-2027: Heading 6 'Neighbourhood and the World'

13-11-2019

In May 2018, the European Commission published its proposals for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's seven-year budget for the 2021-2027 period, followed by proposals for the MFF's individual sectoral programmes. In the proposals, financing external action is covered under Heading 6, 'Neighbourhood and the World', which replaces the current Heading 4, 'Global Europe'. Taking into account the evolving context both internationally and within the EU, as well as the conclusions of ...

In May 2018, the European Commission published its proposals for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's seven-year budget for the 2021-2027 period, followed by proposals for the MFF's individual sectoral programmes. In the proposals, financing external action is covered under Heading 6, 'Neighbourhood and the World', which replaces the current Heading 4, 'Global Europe'. Taking into account the evolving context both internationally and within the EU, as well as the conclusions of the current MFF's mid-term review, the Commission has proposed changes to the EU external action budget in order to make it simpler and more flexible, and to enable the EU to engage more strategically with its partner countries in the future. The proposed Heading 6 comes with increased resources and important structural changes. It envisages merging the majority of the current stand-alone external financing instruments into a single one – the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – as well as integrating into it the biggest EU external financing fund – the European Development Fund – currently outside the budget. Another proposed novelty is to set up an off-budget instrument – the European Peace Facility – to fund security and defence-related actions. With these changes, the Commission strives to take into account, among other things, the need for the EU to align its actions with its new and renewed international commitments under the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement, the new EU Global Strategy, the European Consensus on Development, the European Neighbourhood Policy, and to make EU added value, relevance and credibility more visible. Negotiations on the 2021-2027 MFF are under way. The final decision is to be taken by the Council, acting by unanimity, with the European Parliament's consent. However, in view of current political realities and the financial implications of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the adoption of a modern budget for the future remains a challenge that is not limited to Heading 6. Further developments are expected by the end of 2019.

Freedom of conscience around the world

29-10-2019

Many international conventions, such as those adopted by the United Nations, and regional conventions, emphasise the need to protect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, to which they attach equal importance. In Europe, these conventions are supplemented by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Freedom of conscience or opinion covers a wide range of beliefs and practices that reflect attitudes stemming from personal choices; ...

Many international conventions, such as those adopted by the United Nations, and regional conventions, emphasise the need to protect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, to which they attach equal importance. In Europe, these conventions are supplemented by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Freedom of conscience or opinion covers a wide range of beliefs and practices that reflect attitudes stemming from personal choices; the beliefs and practices involved are not easily categorisable. For that reason, international statistics are sometimes patchy and it is difficult to determine exactly how many people around the world do in fact enjoy freedom of conscience, particularly as in some parts of the world a climate of intolerance makes the exercise of that freedom problematic. Freedom of conscience is not upheld in every country: either the state itself is guilty of discrimination or persecution, or it is incapable of curbing violent social responses motivated by intolerance. It is hard to put a figure on the number of cases involving denial of freedom of conscience, because the victims of persecution go largely unnoticed by the media. In many countries the situation is worrying, and the European Union is committed to defending freedom of conscience in its relations with its partners. This briefing is an update of an earlier one published in April 2018.

Europe’s two trillion euro dividend: Mapping the Cost of Non-Europe, 2019-24

18-04-2019

This study brings together work in progress on a long-term project to identify and analyse the 'cost of non-Europe' in a number of policy fields. This concept, first pioneered by the European Parliament in the 1980s, is used here to quantify the potential efficiency gains in today's European economy through pursuing a series of policy initiatives recently advocated by the Parliament – from a wider and deeper digital single market to more systematic coordination of national and European defence policies ...

This study brings together work in progress on a long-term project to identify and analyse the 'cost of non-Europe' in a number of policy fields. This concept, first pioneered by the European Parliament in the 1980s, is used here to quantify the potential efficiency gains in today's European economy through pursuing a series of policy initiatives recently advocated by the Parliament – from a wider and deeper digital single market to more systematic coordination of national and European defence policies or increased cooperation to fight corporate tax avoidance. The benefits are measured principally in additional GDP generated or more rational use of public resources. The latest analysis suggests that there are potential gains to the European economy (EU-28) of over 2,200 billion euro that could be achieved, if the policies advocated by the Parliament in a series of specific areas were to be adopted by the Union’s institutions and then fully implemented over the ten-year period from 2019 to 2029. This would be, in effect, a ‘two trillion euro dividend’, representing a boost of some 14 per cent of total EU GDP (itself 15.3 trillion euro in 2017). The study is intended to make a contribution to the on-going discussion about the European Union's policy priorities over the coming five-year institutional cycle, from 2019 to 2024.

The benefit of EU action in health policy: The record to date

08-03-2019

European health policy measures taken to date are highly beneficial to and relevant for European citizens, economies and the Member States. The EU does acquit its responsibility and utilises its capacity to act on behalf of EU citizens in this policy area. The study concludes that EU health policy clearly achieves added value.

European health policy measures taken to date are highly beneficial to and relevant for European citizens, economies and the Member States. The EU does acquit its responsibility and utilises its capacity to act on behalf of EU citizens in this policy area. The study concludes that EU health policy clearly achieves added value.

Material use in the European Union: Towards a circular approach

11-09-2018

Global material use has tripled during the past four decades, in particular as a result of increasing living standards. The use of materials, which need to be extracted from our environment, can pose environmental challenges. It can also be threatened by resource scarcity and price volatility. This is particularly true for Europe, which is strongly dependent on imported materials. There are a number of ways to consider material use in the European Union (EU). The breakdown of material use by types ...

Global material use has tripled during the past four decades, in particular as a result of increasing living standards. The use of materials, which need to be extracted from our environment, can pose environmental challenges. It can also be threatened by resource scarcity and price volatility. This is particularly true for Europe, which is strongly dependent on imported materials. There are a number of ways to consider material use in the European Union (EU). The breakdown of material use by types of materials indicates that non-metallic minerals, which include sand and gravel, account for almost half of the materials used in the EU. Material flows provide an overall picture of how materials enter, are used and finally leave the economy. Some of these materials stay in stocks, which are growing year after year. However, the efficiency of material use, measured through resource productivity, has increased substantially since 2000, in part as a result of the economic crisis. Material use in the EU is steered by policies related to different areas such as energy, waste and industry. Relevant policy documents include the 2011 roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe, the 2013 seventh Environment Action Programme and the 2015 circular economy action plan. The EU supports these policies with funding. Funding channels include the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation, which allocated about €635 million between 2014 and 2020 for research on raw-material-related challenges. The European structural and investment funds also support developing more efficient material use practices. The European Parliament has advocated making the use of harmonised indicators for resource efficiency legally binding in the Member States and setting targets for increasing resource efficiency. Parliament has also supported broadening the scope of eco-design requirements to gradually include all relevant resource-efficiency features in product-design requirements.

EU law for an open independent and efficient European administration

27-07-2018

The results of the public consultation clearly suggest - EU citizens want action. Citizens call for an action that wold turn their EU right to good administration into solution. The workable and enforceable solution that adds value. Europe needs innovation! Innovation not only in tools and technologies but also in how EU governs itself.

The results of the public consultation clearly suggest - EU citizens want action. Citizens call for an action that wold turn their EU right to good administration into solution. The workable and enforceable solution that adds value. Europe needs innovation! Innovation not only in tools and technologies but also in how EU governs itself.

Impact Assessment of possible action at EU level for an open, efficient and independent EU administration

12-07-2018

The fragmentation of EU administrative law impinges on the EU’s ability to consistently uphold standards of good governance and administration, as well as to protect citizens’ rights when they interact with the administration. The impact assessment analyses what action could be taken to guarantee an open, efficient and independent EU administration. It compares the option of “doing nothing” with two alternative policy options. The study concludes that adopting a regulatory framework for administrative ...

The fragmentation of EU administrative law impinges on the EU’s ability to consistently uphold standards of good governance and administration, as well as to protect citizens’ rights when they interact with the administration. The impact assessment analyses what action could be taken to guarantee an open, efficient and independent EU administration. It compares the option of “doing nothing” with two alternative policy options. The study concludes that adopting a regulatory framework for administrative procedures would be the preferred option, since it would lead to clear advantages in terms of cost savings for the public, as well as the accessibility, transparency, legal certainty and predictability as well as the legitimacy of, and trust in, EU institutions. It would also compliment the transition of the EU administration towards e-government and e-administration tools.

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EPRS, DG

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