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Objavljeno 24-11-2020

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 19 November 2020

24-11-2020

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators ...

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators from the Council and the European Parliament on the issue of rule-of-law conditionality, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are currently not able to support it. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, indicated that discussions to find an acceptable solution for all would continue. The exchange of information on the coronavirus pandemic focused in particular on the development of vaccines, ensuring that they would be available and affordable to all EU citizens, and on the coordination of the exit from the second-wave restrictions. The European Council agreed once more to further strengthen coordination of action against the coronavirus pandemic.

Objavljeno 23-11-2020

Sustainable aviation fuels

23-11-2020

As part of the European Green Deal adopted in December 2019, which highlights the importance of boosting development of alternative fuels, the European Commission envisages a proposal in early 2021 to support the increased production and use of sustainable aviation fuels, so as to meet Paris Agreement climate change goals. A number of policy measures are already in place to increase sustainable aviation fuel use, but production and use of these fuels in Europe remains low. Eight different pathways ...

As part of the European Green Deal adopted in December 2019, which highlights the importance of boosting development of alternative fuels, the European Commission envisages a proposal in early 2021 to support the increased production and use of sustainable aviation fuels, so as to meet Paris Agreement climate change goals. A number of policy measures are already in place to increase sustainable aviation fuel use, but production and use of these fuels in Europe remains low. Eight different pathways for producing sustainable aviation fuels that can be used without changes to aircraft or refuelling infrastructure have been authorised, but a number of technical, feedstock-related and commercial barriers exist. Development of electro-fuels, which also represent a 'drop-in' type of fuel with potential to help efforts towards carbon neutrality in aviation, is considered technically viable but would require policy action for commercial development. The Commission is conducting a public consultation and is studying a number of policy measures, including a mandatory minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels to be supplied to airlines and/or to be used by airlines and a financial and technical support mechanism to promote the production and use of these fuels.

Curbing the surge in online child abuse: The dual role of digital technology in fighting and facilitating its proliferation

23-11-2020

The volume of child abuse materials circulating on the internet has increased dramatically during the pandemic, as both children and child sex offenders spend more time, and interact more, online. Enabled by digital technologies, child sex offenders have tapped into opportunities that were previously unavailable to communicate freely and directly with each other and with children, creating online communities where they share their crimes. Today, they can reach children via webcams, connected devices ...

The volume of child abuse materials circulating on the internet has increased dramatically during the pandemic, as both children and child sex offenders spend more time, and interact more, online. Enabled by digital technologies, child sex offenders have tapped into opportunities that were previously unavailable to communicate freely and directly with each other and with children, creating online communities where they share their crimes. Today, they can reach children via webcams, connected devices and chat rooms in social media and video games, while remaining anonymous thanks to technologies such as cloud computing, the dark web, end-to-end encryption and streaming. There has been a rise in grooming and sextortion incidents. Conversely, it is again digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and improved online age verification methods or age-appropriate design, which can help to curb the surge of the above crimes. Due to its capacity and speed of analysis, AI could play an important role in tackling the problem and assisting law enforcement in reducing the overwhelming amount of reports that need to be analysed. This is one of two EPRS briefings on the subject of fighting online child abuse. This one looks at technological aspects while the second one will cover legislative and policy issues.

Objavljeno 20-11-2020

The rights of LGBTI people in the European Union

20-11-2020

The prohibition of discrimination and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people persists throughout the EU and takes various forms, including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as grounds of discrimination. However, the scope of the provisions dealing with this issue is limited and does not cover social protection, ...

The prohibition of discrimination and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people persists throughout the EU and takes various forms, including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as grounds of discrimination. However, the scope of the provisions dealing with this issue is limited and does not cover social protection, healthcare, education or access to goods and services, leaving LGBTI people particularly vulnerable in these areas. Moreover, EU competence does not extend to recognition of marital or family status. In this area, national regulations vary, with some Member States offering same-sex couples the right to marry, others allowing alternative forms of registration, and yet others not providing any legal status for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples may or may not have the right to adopt children and to access assisted reproduction. These divergent legal statuses have implications, for instance, for partners from two Member States with different standards who want to formalise/legalise their relationship, or for same-sex couples and their families wishing to move to another Member State. Combating discrimination has become part of EU internal and external policies, and is the subject of numerous resolutions of the European Parliament. However, action in this area remains problematic when it touches on issues pertaining to areas traditionally the preserve of Member States, such as marital status and family law. This is a further updated version of a briefing originally drafted by Piotr Bakowski. The previous edition was published in May 2019.

UK Internal Market Bill and the Withdrawal Agreement

20-11-2020

On 9 September 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) government tabled a bill in the House of Commons which would govern the country's internal market after the Brexit transition period ends. It aims to allow goods and services to flow freely between the four jurisdictions of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – replacing the rules now in place through membership of the EU's single market. Certain parts of this UK Internal Market Bill are particularly controversial, as they explicitly ...

On 9 September 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) government tabled a bill in the House of Commons which would govern the country's internal market after the Brexit transition period ends. It aims to allow goods and services to flow freely between the four jurisdictions of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – replacing the rules now in place through membership of the EU's single market. Certain parts of this UK Internal Market Bill are particularly controversial, as they explicitly contravene the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland attached to the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) that was ratified in January 2020. First, the bill provides that the UK government may authorise Northern Ireland businesses not to complete exit summary declarations when sending goods to Great Britain, thereby breaching the Union Customs Code applicable to NI. The bill would also allow the UK government to interpret, dis-apply or modify the application of the State aid rules of the European Union, which are applicable to UK measures that affect trade between Northern Ireland and the EU. Last but not least, the bill provides that UK regulations in these areas will have effect notwithstanding their incompatibility with relevant domestic or international law, including the Withdrawal Agreement. The reaction of the European Commission to the bill was immediate, calling for an extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee, which was held the following day, 10 September. On 1 October, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to the UK for breaching its obligations under the WA, marking the beginning of an infringement process against the UK. As the UK did not reply by the end of October, the Commission may now proceed with the process, sending a Reasoned Opinion to the UK. Meanwhile, the bill has passed third reading in the House of Commons, even if in the House of Lords the government has been heavily defeated, with amendments removing the controversial clauses. While the government has indicated its intention to re-table the clauses when the bill returns to the Commons in December, it would be open to it to no longer press for their inclusion, if and when agreement is reached in the ongoing negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB). An overview of the work for 2020

20-11-2020

The briefing provides an overview of the latest work by the Financial Stability Board (FSB). It first addresses the FSB as an institution, its mandate, members and governance arrangements, and second, outlines its current work. This paper builds and updates an earlier version.

The briefing provides an overview of the latest work by the Financial Stability Board (FSB). It first addresses the FSB as an institution, its mandate, members and governance arrangements, and second, outlines its current work. This paper builds and updates an earlier version.

Guidance by the FSB, BCBS and IAIS on COVID related measures

20-11-2020

This briefing gives an overview of measures proposed by the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors to address the COVID-19 pandemic related financial consequences.

This briefing gives an overview of measures proposed by the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors to address the COVID-19 pandemic related financial consequences.

Objavljeno 19-11-2020

US Presidential election [What Think Tanks are thinking]

19-11-2020

Joseph Biden, a former US Vice-President and long-time Senator with a strong interest in foreign affairs, won the US Presidential election for the Democrats, defeating the incumbent Republican President, Donald Trump. Over the past four years, Trump shook the established rules-based international order, notably by withdrawing US funding from various multilateral organisations and pulling out of various international agreements, by renegotiating trade deals, imposing provocative customs duties, and ...

Joseph Biden, a former US Vice-President and long-time Senator with a strong interest in foreign affairs, won the US Presidential election for the Democrats, defeating the incumbent Republican President, Donald Trump. Over the past four years, Trump shook the established rules-based international order, notably by withdrawing US funding from various multilateral organisations and pulling out of various international agreements, by renegotiating trade deals, imposing provocative customs duties, and progressively reducing America’s foreign military presence. Although Trump has not yet conceded defeat, his allegations of election fraud and related attempts at litigation are widely seen as frivolous. Once Biden becomes President, the US is expected to seek to strengthen the transatlantic alliance and revive the multilateral system, without necessarily being able to pursue any significant liberalisation of trade, given domestic political pressures and the ambiguous situation in the US Congress. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on issues related to US elections and President Biden’s expected policies in a number of areas.

G20 Summit of November 2020: Great expectations despite boycott calls

19-11-2020

On 21-22 November, under Saudi Arabia's presidency, the G20 will hold its first regular summit in a virtual format. Unavoidably the focus will be on the current crisis, more specifically on protecting lives and livelihoods and restoring growth. Given the crucial role it played in tackling the 2008-2009 financial crisis, hopes are high regarding the G20's potential role in proposing a financial and economic solution to deal with the ongoing downturn. Several major G20 members have invested massive ...

On 21-22 November, under Saudi Arabia's presidency, the G20 will hold its first regular summit in a virtual format. Unavoidably the focus will be on the current crisis, more specifically on protecting lives and livelihoods and restoring growth. Given the crucial role it played in tackling the 2008-2009 financial crisis, hopes are high regarding the G20's potential role in proposing a financial and economic solution to deal with the ongoing downturn. Several major G20 members have invested massive amounts of money to keep their economies afloat, in line with the decision of the extraordinary G20 summit held in the spring, but the depth of the current crisis requires additional action. Some critics have argued that the G20 is not up to its perceived role. The lack of US leadership in particular has been seen as an obstacle preventing the group from living up to its full potential. One of the crucial measures adopted by the G20 has been to freeze the official debt payments of developing countries, with the measure recently being extended. Many voices consider that this will not be enough to avoid state defaults however. Saudi Arabia, the first Arab country to hold the presidency, has been eager to use the opportunity provided by its G20 presidency to showcase its ambitious internal reform programme and its economic potential. The Saudis' leadership of the G20 in these times of turmoil has not escaped criticism, first of all because of the perceived inconsistency between stated objectives at G20 level and internal reality in the country, but also because of the role the country played in the oil price crash of 2020. Given the dire human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and in its fighting in Yemen, calls for a boycott of the summit have been multiplying. The European Parliament has suggested that the EU should downgrade its presence at the summit.

Forest fires: Environmental stakes

19-11-2020

Covering nearly one third of the land surface of the globe, forests make a wide range of direct and indirect contributions to human well-being. Home to most of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, they also play an essential role in climate change mitigation, removing about a quarter of the CO2 that human activities add to the atmosphere. Worldwide, millions of hectares (ha) of forests and other types of vegetation burn every year. Fire dynamics are shaped by a complex set of factors, including ...

Covering nearly one third of the land surface of the globe, forests make a wide range of direct and indirect contributions to human well-being. Home to most of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, they also play an essential role in climate change mitigation, removing about a quarter of the CO2 that human activities add to the atmosphere. Worldwide, millions of hectares (ha) of forests and other types of vegetation burn every year. Fire dynamics are shaped by a complex set of factors, including human activity and climate. While a warming and drying climate increases the risk of fires, fires, by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contribute in turn to global warming. Forest fires that are not balanced by vegetation regrowth, i.e. fires used in the deforestation process, and fires burning on carbon-rich peatlands are of particular concern. Fires also emit air pollutants, including particulate matter, with adverse impacts on human health. Beyond emissions of particles and gases, forest fires can also affect biodiversity and ecosystem conditions, and damage soils. The European Union (EU) has committed to protecting the world's forests under several international agreements and initiatives, including the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement on climate change. At EU level, funding is available to support forest fire prevention and restorative measures, as well as research into fire risk management. The Union civil protection mechanism can be called upon for help by any country in the world when national response capacities to fight fires are overwhelmed. Under the European Green Deal, legislative and non-legislative measures are expected in the near future to strengthen forest protection within and outside the EU. The European Parliament recently asked the European Commission to propose an EU legal framework to tackle EU-driven global deforestation, based on mandatory due diligence for companies placing forest- and ecosystem-risk commodities and derived products on the EU market, with penalties in the event of non-compliance.

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EPRS online Book Talk | How to own the room (and the zoom) [...]
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30-11-2020
Hearing on Future-proofing the Tourism Sector: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
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TRAN
30-11-2020
LIBE - FEMM Joint Hearing: Combating Gender based Violence: Cyber Violence
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FEMM LIBE

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