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Brexit: Make or break? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

04-10-2019

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has presented a draft text to replace the 'Irish backstop', with the aim of reaching agreement with the other 27 EU leaders on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the EU in the coming weeks. While the UK withdrawal is currently scheduled for 31 October, the UK Parliament has adopted legislation obliging Johnson to seek a delay in that date, if no deal is reached by 19 October. But with British politics in turmoil, it remains unclear if the Prime ...

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has presented a draft text to replace the 'Irish backstop', with the aim of reaching agreement with the other 27 EU leaders on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the EU in the coming weeks. While the UK withdrawal is currently scheduled for 31 October, the UK Parliament has adopted legislation obliging Johnson to seek a delay in that date, if no deal is reached by 19 October. But with British politics in turmoil, it remains unclear if the Prime Minister will comply, or, if he does, whether the EU will agree. Economists warn that the UK's disorderly departure from the EU is likely to have damaging consequences for supply chains in trade and production, transport, the supply of medicines and many other areas. This note offers links to a series of most recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on Brexit.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protection of EU external borders

28-06-2019

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders ...

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders by reinforcing the links between border controls and security. On the one hand, measures for protecting the EU's external borders have focused on reinforcing EU border management rules, such as the Schengen Borders Code, and strengthening and upgrading the mandates of relevant EU agencies, such as Frontex, eu-LISA, Europol and EASO. On the other hand, in connection with a number of key shortcomings in the EU's information systems, efforts were made to improve use of the opportunities offered by information systems and technologies for security, criminal records, and border and migration management. This included strengthening existing IT systems (SIS II, VIS, Eurodac, ECRIS-TCN), establishing new ones (ETIAS, Entry/Exit System) and improving their interoperability. The broader mandate and the increase of activities in the area of EU border management is also reflected in the growing amounts, flexibility, and diversity of EU funds, inside and outside the current and future EU budget. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Brexit: Understanding the withdrawal agreement and political declaration

20-03-2019

In November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) endorsed, at leaders’ level, an agreement that would ensure an orderly UK withdrawal from the EU on 30 March 2019, as well as a political declaration setting out the main parameters of the future EU-UK relationship. The withdrawal agreement is an extensive legal document aiming, among other things, to preserve the essential rights of UK nationals living in the EU-27 and EU citizens living in the UK; to ensure that all financial ...

In November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) endorsed, at leaders’ level, an agreement that would ensure an orderly UK withdrawal from the EU on 30 March 2019, as well as a political declaration setting out the main parameters of the future EU-UK relationship. The withdrawal agreement is an extensive legal document aiming, among other things, to preserve the essential rights of UK nationals living in the EU-27 and EU citizens living in the UK; to ensure that all financial commitments vis-à-vis the EU undertaken while the UK was a Member State are respected; and to conclude in an orderly manner ongoing processes in various areas (e.g. circulation of goods already on the market and ongoing judicial procedures). Importantly, the agreement establishes a 21-month transition period, extendable once, to help businesses and citizens to adapt to the new circumstances, and the EU and UK to negotiate their future partnership agreements. During this time, the UK will be treated as a Member State, but without any EU decision-making and representation rights. Furthermore, one of the agreement’s three protocols, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland contains a legally operational ‘backstop’, aiming to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland in the future. It has long been the most contested aspect of the withdrawal deal. The political declaration, by contrast, is a non-binding text, providing the basis for future EU-UK economic and security cooperation, taking into account both sides’ red lines and principles. With just days to go to the Brexit deadline, the procedures to approve the withdrawal deal have still not been finalised, due to continuing opposition within the UK Parliament. While extending the Article 50 negotiating period now appears highly likely, all scenarios are still possible, including the UK leaving the EU without a deal at the end of March 2019.

Brexit and Migration

16-10-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), focuses on the future relationship between the UK and the EU following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of migration (excluding asylum), including future movement of EU citizens and UK nationals between the EU and UK. Moreover, it investigates the role ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), focuses on the future relationship between the UK and the EU following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of migration (excluding asylum), including future movement of EU citizens and UK nationals between the EU and UK. Moreover, it investigates the role of the Court of Justice of the EU.

Autor externo

Carolus Grütters, Elspeth Guild, Paul Minderhoud, Ricky van Oers, Tineke Strik

Cross-border parcel delivery services

05-07-2018

High prices and the inconvenience of cross-border parcel delivery have been identified as being among the main obstacles to greater uptake of e-commerce among European consumers and retailers. Research shows that current cross-border parcel delivery prices charged by universal service providers can be almost five times higher than domestic parcel delivery prices. To remedy the situation, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on cross-border parcel delivery services as part of its ...

High prices and the inconvenience of cross-border parcel delivery have been identified as being among the main obstacles to greater uptake of e-commerce among European consumers and retailers. Research shows that current cross-border parcel delivery prices charged by universal service providers can be almost five times higher than domestic parcel delivery prices. To remedy the situation, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on cross-border parcel delivery services as part of its May 2016 e-commerce package. The proposal’s aim was to contribute to a reduction in delivery prices through increased price transparency and improved regulatory oversight. The final act was signed in April 2018, following a compromise agreement between Parliament and the Council reached in December 2017. The new regulation will enable consumers and businesses to compare parcel delivery prices on a dedicated website, while national regulatory authorities will be provided with greater powers to monitor cross-border tariffs and assess those they consider to be unreasonably high. Fourth edition, based on an original briefing by Jana Valant. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

A Europe without internal borders? Free movement of persons

25-06-2018

Different groups of EU citizens enjoy the right to freedom of movement across the EU, making it possible to work in another Member State, retire, study, set up a business, follow a family member or look for a job. EU citizens, tourists and businesses benefit from these rights as well as the Schengen area, which greatly facilitates freedom of movement. Contrary to popular belief, thus opening internal EU borders has not led to an increase in crime. Rather, Schengen innovations such as enhanced police ...

Different groups of EU citizens enjoy the right to freedom of movement across the EU, making it possible to work in another Member State, retire, study, set up a business, follow a family member or look for a job. EU citizens, tourists and businesses benefit from these rights as well as the Schengen area, which greatly facilitates freedom of movement. Contrary to popular belief, thus opening internal EU borders has not led to an increase in crime. Rather, Schengen innovations such as enhanced police cooperation and harmonised external border controls help Europe work against cross-border crime. Closing EU internal borders again could lead to costs of between €100 and 230 billion over 10 years.

Revision of the visa code

27-04-2018

Although an increasing number of people have been travelling to the EU for tourism and business in recent years, visa application procedures are still costly and cumbersome. With the recast proposal on the visa code, the Commission aims to facilitate tourism, trade and business, whilst strengthening security and mitigating irregular migration. The impact assessment accompanying the proposal provides an overall convincing analysis tackling the problems of (1) insufficient finances to support visa ...

Although an increasing number of people have been travelling to the EU for tourism and business in recent years, visa application procedures are still costly and cumbersome. With the recast proposal on the visa code, the Commission aims to facilitate tourism, trade and business, whilst strengthening security and mitigating irregular migration. The impact assessment accompanying the proposal provides an overall convincing analysis tackling the problems of (1) insufficient finances to support visa processing; and (2) Member States' diverging practices when issuing multiple-entry visas. The Commission, however, also proposed (3) to address the lack of cooperation of some third countries in readmission matters in the visa code. One would have expected a more thorough analysis on this last aspect considering that there is no hard evidence on how visa leverage can translate into better cooperation with third countries on readmission. The Commission made efforts to consult with stakeholders and provide data, yet, the IA displays a general lack of data, statistics and evidence.

Interoperability of Justice and Home Affairs Information Systems

12-04-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), primarily assesses the Commission’s December 2017 proposals for a Regulation on establishing a framework for interoperability between EU Justice and Home Affairs information systems. The study first analyses the relationships between the information systems in the ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), primarily assesses the Commission’s December 2017 proposals for a Regulation on establishing a framework for interoperability between EU Justice and Home Affairs information systems. The study first analyses the relationships between the information systems in the current and proposed implementation before assessing the key elements of the Commission’s proposals, including the concept of interoperability used, the problem definition and objectives and the proposed solutions, as well as the implementation, fundamental rights and data security implications.

Autor externo

Mirja GUTHEIL Quentin LIGER James EAGER Yemi OVIOSU Daniel BOGDANOVIC

Revision of the visa code

06-03-2018

The EU common visa code (the Visa Code) was adopted in 2009 by means of Regulation 810/2009. It establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing short-stay visas for entry into and transit through the Schengen area. This type of visa is valid for up to three months, whereas long-term visas (or residence permits) remain subject to national procedures. Regulation 767/2008 on the Visa Information System (VIS) defines the purpose and functionalities of the VIS, the computerised system aimed at facilitating ...

The EU common visa code (the Visa Code) was adopted in 2009 by means of Regulation 810/2009. It establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing short-stay visas for entry into and transit through the Schengen area. This type of visa is valid for up to three months, whereas long-term visas (or residence permits) remain subject to national procedures. Regulation 767/2008 on the Visa Information System (VIS) defines the purpose and functionalities of the VIS, the computerised system aimed at facilitating the exchange of data between EU Member States and associated countries applying the common visa policy. Since its adoption, EU policy as regards short-term visas has faced a significant challenge: the delicate equilibrium between the need to promote economic growth via mobility and tourism, on the one hand, and the need to ensure the security of the Schengen area, on the other. Assessments of the implementation of the Visa Code and the VIS have shown that the requirements for obtaining a Schengen visa have had a negative impact on tourism and as a result, on EU economic growth. That said, the extent to which the provisions of the Visa Code have contributed to preserving the security of the external borders is difficult to evaluate, since the full deployment of the VIS (both at consular posts worldwide and at Schengen border crossing points) was completed relatively recently (2016). In its work programme for 2018, the European Commission announced that proposals will be tabled to revise the Visa Code and upgrade the VIS. The revision of the Visa Code, in particular, will aim at overcoming divisions triggered by the visa package submitted by the Commission in 2014. Thus far, the co-legislators have not reached an agreement on this set of measures. On the other hand, efforts to upgrade the VIS will be aimed at enhancing visa processing further, among other things through improving law enforcement authorities' access to the VIS, including new categories of data in the system, and ensuring the interoperability of the VIS with the other existing large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice.

El futuro del espacio Schengen: los acontecimientos y retos más recientes en el marco de gobernanza de Schengen desde 2016

06-03-2018

El presente estudio evalúa los principales acontecimientos que han tenido lugar en el marco de gobernanza de Schengen desde 2016. Se examina una serie de retos que afectan actualmente al funcionamiento del espacio Schengen. En primer lugar, el presente documento analiza la legitimidad de las decisiones adoptadas por una serie de Estados Schengen de mantener controles en las fronteras interiores. En segundo lugar, se evalúan las propuestas políticas más recientes en materia de controles policiales ...

El presente estudio evalúa los principales acontecimientos que han tenido lugar en el marco de gobernanza de Schengen desde 2016. Se examina una serie de retos que afectan actualmente al funcionamiento del espacio Schengen. En primer lugar, el presente documento analiza la legitimidad de las decisiones adoptadas por una serie de Estados Schengen de mantener controles en las fronteras interiores. En segundo lugar, se evalúan las propuestas políticas más recientes en materia de controles policiales internos a la luz de las pertinentes normas jurídicas de la Unión, entre las que se incluyen la necesidad, la proporcionalidad y la seguridad jurídica. El documento también cuestiona la eficacia y la legalidad de las murallas y vallas fronterizas erigidas recientemente en las fronteras exteriores de la Unión y dentro del espacio Schengen. Además, los autores examinan detalladamente cómo el marco de gobernanza de Schengen depende cada vez más de una Agencia Frontex reforzada operativa y estratégicamente y de la interoperabilidad gradual de diferentes sistemas de información de gran escala, como SIS II, VIS y Eurodac. El documento analiza los retos que las funciones cada vez más extensas de estas infraestructuras de gestión de fronteras e información plantean en lo relativo al respeto del Estado de Derecho y los derechos fundamentales. Se sostiene que, aunque el espacio Schengen sigue siendo resistente a las crisis, debe hacerse más a nivel nacional y de la Unión para ir más allá del actual modo de crisis en la toma de decisiones sobre migración y fronteras y avanzar hacia un Sistema Europeo de Asilo estable.

Autor externo

Prof. Sergio Carrera, Dr Marco Stefan, Dr Ngo Chun Luk , Lina Vosyliūtė

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