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Independence with Weak Accountability: The Swiss Case

29-09-2020

The Swiss National Bank is highly independent but weakly accountable. Weak accountability is rooted in the formal legislation on central banking but also in the reputation of the Bank, which is unanimously considered as highly successful. The ECB too is highly independent and weakly accountable but it faces diverse public opinions whose views differ across countries. Buttressing ECB accountability is important, therefore, and the European Parliament should consider strengthening the Monetary Dialogue ...

The Swiss National Bank is highly independent but weakly accountable. Weak accountability is rooted in the formal legislation on central banking but also in the reputation of the Bank, which is unanimously considered as highly successful. The ECB too is highly independent and weakly accountable but it faces diverse public opinions whose views differ across countries. Buttressing ECB accountability is important, therefore, and the European Parliament should consider strengthening the Monetary Dialogue. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

External author

Charles WYPLOSZ

On the path to 'strategic autonomy': The EU in an evolving geopolitical environment

28-09-2020

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy ...

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy on a horizontal – cross-policy – basis would strengthen the EU's multilateral action and reduce dependence on external actors, to make the EU less vulnerable to external threats; while promoting a level playing field that benefits everyone. The EU could thus reap the full dividend of its integration and possibly benefit from greater economic gains. To build European strategic autonomy, the EU may choose to use the still 'under-used' or 'unused' potential of the Lisbon Treaty, with the European Council having a key role to play in triggering some of the Treaty provisions, particularly in foreign and security policy. European strategic autonomy may also result from a deepening of the EU integration process. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Member States will wish to grasp the opportunity offered by the Conference on the Future of Europe to deepen the European project.

Protecting EU common values within the Member States: An overview of monitoring, prevention and enforcement mechanisms at EU level

25-09-2020

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm ...

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm of Article 7 TEU) and enforcement mechanisms (preliminary reference rulings, infringement procedures and the sanctions arm of Article 7 TEU)). It also analyses a number of proposed mechanisms: the pact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights; rule of law review cycle; reviewed Council dialogues on the rule of law; and the rule of law budgetary conditionality.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, September 2020

18-09-2020

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special ...

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special European Council focusing on Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean, on the consequences for the single market of EU coordination of sanitary measures in the ongoing pandemic, on combatting sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and on the need for a humanitarian EU response to the situation in the Moria refugee camp. Parliament also debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the situation in Belarus, in Lebanon and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Parliament also voted on legislative proposals and resolutions, including on arms exports, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU Association Agreement with Georgia, protecting world forests, EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel, type approval of motor vehicles and the importance of urban and green infrastructure.

Members of the European Parliament from February 2020

18-09-2020

In May 2019, on a turnout of 51%, European Union citizens elected their representatives to the European Parliament for the next five years. On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the Union. Of the 73 seats vacated by Members elected in the UK, 27 have been redistributed among 14 Member States, while 46 remain available for potential EU enlargements and/or the possible creation of a transnational constituency in the future. The number of seats in the Parliament has fallen from 751 to ...

In May 2019, on a turnout of 51%, European Union citizens elected their representatives to the European Parliament for the next five years. On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the Union. Of the 73 seats vacated by Members elected in the UK, 27 have been redistributed among 14 Member States, while 46 remain available for potential EU enlargements and/or the possible creation of a transnational constituency in the future. The number of seats in the Parliament has fallen from 751 to 705. The 705 MEPs elected have an average age of 51 years (with the youngest being 22 and the oldest 83). A majority of MEPs (415) are new to the Parliament. Women now represent 39.6% of all MEPs.

Brexit: Towards the end-game [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-09-2020

There is now growing doubt about possible progress on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tabled a bill on the internal market within the country, which contains provisions relating to the border between Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK that violate the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and would thus constitute a breach of international law. The European Parliament has already indicated that it would ...

There is now growing doubt about possible progress on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tabled a bill on the internal market within the country, which contains provisions relating to the border between Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK that violate the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and would thus constitute a breach of international law. The European Parliament has already indicated that it would not be able to ratify any post-Brexit EU-UK trade agreement, if such arrengements were to be adopted. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on numerous challenges facing the UK, EU and their future ties after their divorce.

What if 'rewilding' could help reverse biodiversity loss in Europe?

18-09-2020

Biodiversity is in crisis across the globe: species extinctions and a loss of nature occurring at rates unprecedented in human history, and with the EU no exception, our biodiversity and the essential value it brings are under threat. Could 'rewilding' help restore Europe's nature?

Biodiversity is in crisis across the globe: species extinctions and a loss of nature occurring at rates unprecedented in human history, and with the EU no exception, our biodiversity and the essential value it brings are under threat. Could 'rewilding' help restore Europe's nature?

Accountability Mechanisms of Major Central Banks and Possible Avenues to Improve the ECB's Accountability

15-09-2020

Independece of monetary authorities is a key tenet of modern central banking. Indepedence, however, must go hand in hand with accountability towards the public and its elected representatives. Four studies were prepared for the ECON Committee by the Monetary Expert Panel, comparing the accountability practices of major central banks in other juristictions (the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve) with those of the European Central Bank (ECB) and offering ...

Independece of monetary authorities is a key tenet of modern central banking. Indepedence, however, must go hand in hand with accountability towards the public and its elected representatives. Four studies were prepared for the ECON Committee by the Monetary Expert Panel, comparing the accountability practices of major central banks in other juristictions (the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve) with those of the European Central Bank (ECB) and offering recommendations on how to improve the ECB's accoutability framework.

External author

Rosa M. LASTRA, Charles WYPLOSZ, Grégory CLAEYS, Marta DOMÍNGUEZ-JIMÉNEZ, Karl WHELAN

Police Information Exchange - The future developments regarding Prüm and the API Directive

15-09-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, aims to provide background information and policy recommendations concerning police information exchange and in particular the future developments regarding Prüm and the API Directive (Directive 2004/82/EC).

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, aims to provide background information and policy recommendations concerning police information exchange and in particular the future developments regarding Prüm and the API Directive (Directive 2004/82/EC).

External author

Dr Niovi VAVOULA, Queen Mary University of London

The State of the Union debate in the European Parliament, 2020

11-09-2020

The State of the Union address of 2020 will be delivered at a time when the coronavirus pandemic continues to create challenges for the European Union and its Member States. At the same time, the the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's long-term budget, is yet to be agreed. Unresolved challenges also include ensuring respect for EU values (Article 2 TEU) in the Member States, addressing the threat of climate change, and ensuring Europe is fit for the digital age. The tradition of ...

The State of the Union address of 2020 will be delivered at a time when the coronavirus pandemic continues to create challenges for the European Union and its Member States. At the same time, the the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's long-term budget, is yet to be agreed. Unresolved challenges also include ensuring respect for EU values (Article 2 TEU) in the Member States, addressing the threat of climate change, and ensuring Europe is fit for the digital age. The tradition of EU State of the Union addresses, delivered by the President of the European Commission before the European Parliament, dates back to 2010. The address takes stock of the achievements of the past year and presents the priorities for the year ahead. The State of the Union speech constitutes an important instrument for the European Commission's ex-ante accountability vis-à-vis Parliament. It is also aimed at rendering the definition of priorities at EU level more transparent, and at communicating those priorities to citizens. It resembles similar speeches in national democracies. The United States of America, for instance, has a long-standing tradition of presidential State of the Union addresses, in which the President speaks in the Capitol to a joint session of Congress, thus fulfilling his constitutional obligation. By contrast to the US Constitution, the EU Treaties do not prescribe the State of the Union address, which was instigated with the 2010 Framework Agreement between Parliament and the Commission. Former Commission Presidents José Manuel Barroso (2010 to 2013, marked mainly by the economic and financial crisis) and President Jean Claude Juncker each gave four State of the Union speeches. In his 2015 address, Jean Claude Juncker presented new proposals on migration, external action, and economic and fiscal policy. In 2016, he announced new initiatives to invest in Europe's young people, jobseekers and start-ups, to expand public access to wifi, and make fairer copyright laws. In 2017, he proposed a roadmap for a more united, stronger and more democratic union. In his final speech in 2018, he called for a more sovereign Europe that allows its nations to be global players, setting out proposals on migration, cybersecurity and foreign policy. This briefing further updates an earlier one, from September 2016, originally written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.

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30-09-2020
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