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Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027: Financing key EU infrastructure networks

01-07-2021

The EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. It set up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a dedicated financing instrument for the 2014-2020 period, to channel EU funding into the development of infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, the European Commission ...

The EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. It set up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a dedicated financing instrument for the 2014-2020 period, to channel EU funding into the development of infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, the European Commission proposed to renew the programme under the long term EU budget for the 2021-2027 period. In the 2014-2019 term, the Council and the European Parliament provisionally agreed on the content, leaving aside the budget and the questions relating to third countries. Negotiations resumed in the present term, reflecting the Commission’s revised MFF proposal of May 2020 and the European Council conclusions of July 2020. Final details were agreed on 11 March 2021. The agreement has already been confirmed by the responsible parliamentary committees TRAN and ITRE, and the Council subsequently adopted its first-reading position on 14 June 2021. The Parliament is expected to vote at second reading during the July plenary session. Once adopted, the new CEF regulation will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Smart villages: Concept, issues and prospects for EU rural areas

01-03-2021

Although there is no legal definition of a 'smart village' within EU legislation, there are a number of distinguishing features associated with the smart village concept, with the involvement of the local community and the use of digital tools being seen as core elements. The concept implies the participation of local people in improving their economic, social or environmental conditions, cooperation with other communities, social innovation and the development of smart village strategies. Digital ...

Although there is no legal definition of a 'smart village' within EU legislation, there are a number of distinguishing features associated with the smart village concept, with the involvement of the local community and the use of digital tools being seen as core elements. The concept implies the participation of local people in improving their economic, social or environmental conditions, cooperation with other communities, social innovation and the development of smart village strategies. Digital technologies can be applied to many aspects of living and working in rural areas. The smart village concept also suggests the adoption of smart solutions in both the public and private sectors over a wide range of policy fields such as improving access to services, developing short food supply chains and developing renewable energy sources. The smart village concept is gaining traction on the rural development agenda, coinciding with the ongoing reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP). A key element of this reform will be a new delivery model based on each Member State developing a CAP strategic plan. In December 2020, the Commission published its recommendations for each Member State on the direction their plans need to take to achieve the CAP objectives and the European Green Deal targets. The Commission's analysis highlight the gaps Member States must address if the Green Deal target of 100 % access to fast broadband internet in rural areas by 2025 is to be met. Much will depend on how Member States respond to these recommendations in drawing up their CAP strategic plans. The European Parliament has made a significant contribution to the smart village concept, taking part in a pilot project on smart eco-villages and supporting the European Commission's 2017 action plan for smarter villages. The European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee have meanwhile both indicated their support for the concept through events, opinions and communications.

EU-India: Cooperation on digitalisation

12-10-2020

A 'human-centric digitalisation to develop inclusive economies and societies' is the main concept behind the digital transformation of both the EU and India. During their July 2020 summit, the two agreed to promote global digitalisation standards characterised by 'safe and ethical deployment'. Their flagship initiatives – the EU digital single market and 'Digital India' – make them natural partners in the promotion of these global standards. Yet, if their ICT cooperation is to make sound progress ...

A 'human-centric digitalisation to develop inclusive economies and societies' is the main concept behind the digital transformation of both the EU and India. During their July 2020 summit, the two agreed to promote global digitalisation standards characterised by 'safe and ethical deployment'. Their flagship initiatives – the EU digital single market and 'Digital India' – make them natural partners in the promotion of these global standards. Yet, if their ICT cooperation is to make sound progress, some of Delhi's protectionist policies need further consideration.

Effects of 5G wireless communication on human health

11-02-2020

The fifth generation of telecommunications technologies, 5G, is fundamental to achieving a European gigabit society by 2025. The aim to cover all urban areas, railways and major roads with uninterrupted fifth generation wireless communication can only be achieved by creating a very dense network of antennas and transmitters. In other words, the number of higher frequency base stations and other devices will increase significantly. This raises the question as to whether there is a negative impact ...

The fifth generation of telecommunications technologies, 5G, is fundamental to achieving a European gigabit society by 2025. The aim to cover all urban areas, railways and major roads with uninterrupted fifth generation wireless communication can only be achieved by creating a very dense network of antennas and transmitters. In other words, the number of higher frequency base stations and other devices will increase significantly. This raises the question as to whether there is a negative impact on human health and environment from higher frequencies and billions of additional connections, which, according to research, will mean constant exposure for the whole population, including children. Whereas researchers generally consider such radio waves not to constitute a threat to the population, research to date has not addressed the constant exposure that 5G would introduce. Accordingly, a section of the scientific community considers that more research on the potential negative biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and 5G is needed, notably on the incidence of some serious human diseases. A further consideration is the need to bring together researchers from different disciplines, in particular medicine and physics or engineering, to conduct further research into the effects of 5G. The EU’s current provisions on exposure to wireless signals, the Council Recommendation on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz), is now 20 years old, and thus does not take the specific technical characteristics of 5G into account.

Common rules for the internal electricity market

12-07-2019

On 30 November 2016, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal for a recast directive on the internal market for electricity, as part of a comprehensive legislative package entitled 'Clean Energy for all Europeans'. The proposed directive would oblige Member States to ensure a more competitive, customer-centred, flexible and non-discriminatory EU electricity market with market-based supply prices. It would strengthen existing customer rights, introduce new ones and provide a framework ...

On 30 November 2016, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal for a recast directive on the internal market for electricity, as part of a comprehensive legislative package entitled 'Clean Energy for all Europeans'. The proposed directive would oblige Member States to ensure a more competitive, customer-centred, flexible and non-discriminatory EU electricity market with market-based supply prices. It would strengthen existing customer rights, introduce new ones and provide a framework for energy communities. Member States would have to monitor and address energy poverty. The proposal clarifies the tasks of distribution system operators and emphasises the obligation of neighbouring national regulators to cooperate on issues of cross-border relevance. The Council adopted its general approach in December 2017. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted its report in February 2018. A provisional trilogue agreement was reached in December 2018. The European Parliament adopted the text in the March II 2019 plenary session and the Council on 22 May 2019. The Directive entered into force on 4 July 2019 and must be transposed into national legislation by 31 December 2020. Fourth edition. 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.

ENISA and a new cybersecurity act

05-07-2019

In September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with new initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience, deterrence and defence. As part of these, the Commission tabled a legislative proposal to strengthen the EU Agency for Network Information Security (ENISA). Following the adoption of the Network Information Security Directive in 2016, ENISA is expected to play a broader role in the EU's cybersecurity landscape but is constrained by its current mandate and resources. The Commission ...

In September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with new initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience, deterrence and defence. As part of these, the Commission tabled a legislative proposal to strengthen the EU Agency for Network Information Security (ENISA). Following the adoption of the Network Information Security Directive in 2016, ENISA is expected to play a broader role in the EU's cybersecurity landscape but is constrained by its current mandate and resources. The Commission presented an ambitious reform proposal, including a permanent mandate for the agency, to ensure that ENISA can not only provide expert advice, as has been the case until now, but can also perform operational tasks. The proposal also envisaged the creation of the first voluntary EU cybersecurity certification framework for ICT products, where ENISA will also play an important role. Within the European Parliament, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee adopted its report on 10 July 2018. An agreement was reached with the Council during the fifth trilogue meeting, on 10 December 2018. The text was adopted by the European Parliament on 12 March and by the Council on 9 April 2019. The new regulation came into force on 27 June 2019. Fourth edition. 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.