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Non-financial Reporting Directive

28-01-2021

In line with the European Green Deal, a key element to foster sustainable growth and finance the green transition will be to channel funding in economic activities that contribute to environmental, social and governance-related objectives. Directive 2014/95/EU on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information (NFRD) has set the EU on a clear course towards greater business transparency and accountability on social and environmental issues. It helps to measure, monitor and manage companies ...

In line with the European Green Deal, a key element to foster sustainable growth and finance the green transition will be to channel funding in economic activities that contribute to environmental, social and governance-related objectives. Directive 2014/95/EU on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information (NFRD) has set the EU on a clear course towards greater business transparency and accountability on social and environmental issues. It helps to measure, monitor and manage companies' performance and their impact on society. However, as this briefing shows, the NFRD suffers from several deficiencies such as lack of comparability, reliability and relevance of non-financiel information provided. The Commission therefore intends to review the NFRD in the first quarter of 2021.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 21 January 2021

25-01-2021

Discussions at the 21 January video-conference meeting of EU leaders largely focused on a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the evolving public health situation with the spread of new virus variants coming from the UK and South Africa, vaccination strategies and international solidarity. While agreeing to further restrictive measures to limit non-essential travel, keeping borders open to ensure the functioning of the EU's single market was emphasised as essential. At the ...

Discussions at the 21 January video-conference meeting of EU leaders largely focused on a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the evolving public health situation with the spread of new virus variants coming from the UK and South Africa, vaccination strategies and international solidarity. While agreeing to further restrictive measures to limit non-essential travel, keeping borders open to ensure the functioning of the EU's single market was emphasised as essential. At the meeting, EU leaders also raised the issue of the detention of Alexei Navalny, condemning it and calling on the Russian authorities to release him.

Adequate minimum wages

19-01-2021

This briefing finds that the European Commission's impact assessment (IA), which accompanies the directive proposal on adequate minimum wages, is based on sound data and presents a sufficiently broad range of policy options. It would have been useful if the measures concerning collective bargaining and adequacy of minimum wages had been explained more thoroughly in relation to the chosen legal basis. The problem description would have benefited of using more information from the extensive annexes ...

This briefing finds that the European Commission's impact assessment (IA), which accompanies the directive proposal on adequate minimum wages, is based on sound data and presents a sufficiently broad range of policy options. It would have been useful if the measures concerning collective bargaining and adequacy of minimum wages had been explained more thoroughly in relation to the chosen legal basis. The problem description would have benefited of using more information from the extensive annexes. It would have clarified the text if the IA had provided the comparative analysis and selection of the preferred option separately for both minimum wage setting systems (collective agreements and legal provisions).

EU policy on air quality: Implementation of selected EU legislation

18-01-2021

Air pollution is a cross-border problem with direct negative effects on health and the environment. It also has indirect but tangible adverse effects on economies and societies. With the aim of securing good air quality status for its citizens and the environment, the EU has established a policy framework that employs legal regulation as the main policy instrument. This European implementation assessment (EIA) presents findings on the implementation of three major pieces of EU legislation on air ...

Air pollution is a cross-border problem with direct negative effects on health and the environment. It also has indirect but tangible adverse effects on economies and societies. With the aim of securing good air quality status for its citizens and the environment, the EU has established a policy framework that employs legal regulation as the main policy instrument. This European implementation assessment (EIA) presents findings on the implementation of three major pieces of EU legislation on air quality, namely the two Ambient Air Quality Directives and the Industrial Emissions Directive, and makes recommendations for policy action. In addition, the research paper annexed to this EIA maps and assesses the local policies designed and implemented by 10 EU agglomerations with the aim of tackling air pollution from relevant sources, and, in particular, from road transport. It also makes recommendations for policy action, some of which are relevant to any other EU zone/agglomeration affected by air pollution exceedances, irrespective of specific local conditions. Furthermore, the research paper studies the effects of the first wave of pandemic lock-down measures implemented in the same 10 EU agglomerations and their effects on concentrations of certain air pollutants (particularly harmful for health), and, on this basis, outlines lessons that could be applied in future policy-making on air quality at all levels of governance.

Social media communication by the Heads of State or Government in the European Council: a comprehensive analysis of EU Leaders’ discourse on Europe via Twitter

07-01-2021

Over recent years, the members of the European Council have, in a number of landmark declarations such as the Bratislava Declaration, pointed to the need to improve communication with citizens, as part of the process of building greater trust and confidence in the European Union and its institutions. As social media, and notably Twitter, have become an important part of politicians' communication strategy generally, this study looks specifically at how EU leaders in the European Council communicate ...

Over recent years, the members of the European Council have, in a number of landmark declarations such as the Bratislava Declaration, pointed to the need to improve communication with citizens, as part of the process of building greater trust and confidence in the European Union and its institutions. As social media, and notably Twitter, have become an important part of politicians' communication strategy generally, this study looks specifically at how EU leaders in the European Council communicate on Europe via Twitter. This EPRS study explores provides an overview of the activity on Twitter of all members of the European Council over an 18-month period – in just over 31 000 tweets posted between January 2019 and June 2020 – covering a very wide range of issues. The study identifies the European topics that EU-27 leaders tweet about – their own interactions, external relations and the EU budget – and it explores the ways in which they communicate and engage with their target audiences, as well as pointing to differences of approach between them. EU-related tweets represent on average about a fifth of all EU leaders' tweets, with a greater emphasis on meetings as such than on substantive policy issues.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders on 10 and 11 December 2020

15-12-2020

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved ...

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved a significant breakthrough in combating climate change, by committing to a binding EU reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 % by 2030. Moreover, the European Council discussed the development, purchase and the EU-wide distribution of effective vaccines against Covid-19 and stressed the need to take forward proposals for a health union. EU leaders also agreed to step up the fight against radicalisation, terrorism and violent extremism.

Air services: Revision of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008

15-12-2020

New rules regulating the air services are expected by the end of year. The basic legal act organising the internal EU aviation market, namely Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008, is expected to be revised by the European Commission, after being evaluated in 2019.

New rules regulating the air services are expected by the end of year. The basic legal act organising the internal EU aviation market, namely Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008, is expected to be revised by the European Commission, after being evaluated in 2019.

Strengthening digital operational resilience in the financial sector

11-12-2020

This briefing provides an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying Commission proposals to strengthen digital operational resilience in the EU, which are part of the digital finance package. The IA would have benefited from a more balanced set of options, and it would have been useful to further clarify the arguments supporting the choice between options 2 and 3. The assessment of social impacts is very limited, and the competitiveness ...

This briefing provides an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying Commission proposals to strengthen digital operational resilience in the EU, which are part of the digital finance package. The IA would have benefited from a more balanced set of options, and it would have been useful to further clarify the arguments supporting the choice between options 2 and 3. The assessment of social impacts is very limited, and the competitiveness aspect raised could also have been discussed at greater length. The IA estimates that the initiative would benefit SMEs in terms of reduced administrative burden and improved capacity to operate in a cross-border context. In addition to the qualitative assessment, the IA provides quantified estimates, openly recognising some data limitations.

Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 10-11 December 2020

09-12-2020

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey ...

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey. Two crucial issues, which are not on the formal agenda but could dominate discussions, are rule-of-law conditionality for the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU-UK negotiations. EU leaders are also expected to appoint a new member of the European Central Bank's executive board. The Euro Summit on 11 December will focus on the revision of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty and on progress towards a banking union.

Key issues in the European Council: State of play in December 2020

09-12-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

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