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Protecting the EU budget against generalised rule of law deficiencies

25-06-2020

When preparing the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission proposed to strengthen the link between EU funding and respect for the rule of law. To this end, on 3 May 2018, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation that would introduce a general rule of law conditionality into the EU's financial rules. Any Member State where a generalised rule of law deficiency is found could be subject to the suspension of payments and commitments, reduced funding and a prohibition ...

When preparing the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission proposed to strengthen the link between EU funding and respect for the rule of law. To this end, on 3 May 2018, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation that would introduce a general rule of law conditionality into the EU's financial rules. Any Member State where a generalised rule of law deficiency is found could be subject to the suspension of payments and commitments, reduced funding and a prohibition on concluding new commitments. On 13 November 2019, the decision of the European Parliament's Budget and Budgetary Control Committees to enter interinstitutional negotiations on the proposal was announced in plenary. Negotiations will be based on Parliament's first-reading position adopted in plenary in April 2019. Parliament's main amendments are concerned with the definition of generalised deficiencies, procedural issues (the panel of independent experts and the need to put Parliament on an equal footing with Council), and with the protection of end beneficiaries of EU funding. The rule of law conditionality has become an important element of the negotiations on the legislative package for the 2021-2027 MFF and the Recovery Instrument for the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, February 2020

14-02-2020

Highlights of the February session included debates on a review of economic governance; the revised enlargement methodology proposed by the Commission; a breach of Council Decision 2017/2074 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela; the current situation in Syria; on fighting against antisemitism, racism and hatred across Europe; as well as on the ongoing threat to the rule of law in Poland. Members also adopted a resolution on the illegal trade in companion animals. ...

Highlights of the February session included debates on a review of economic governance; the revised enlargement methodology proposed by the Commission; a breach of Council Decision 2017/2074 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela; the current situation in Syria; on fighting against antisemitism, racism and hatred across Europe; as well as on the ongoing threat to the rule of law in Poland. Members also adopted a resolution on the illegal trade in companion animals. They debated the state of play in the EU's fight against money laundering (in light of the Luanda Leaks); the humanitarian situation of refugees at EU external borders; and the coronavirus outbreak. Members also voted on a resolution on EU priorities for the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

A macro-regional strategy for the Carpathian region

12-12-2019

Encompassing regions from European Union (EU) Member States and third countries confronted with a common set of challenges, macro-regions are defined on the basis of geographical features. Whether inspired by a sense of regional identity, a desire to engage in closer cooperation or to pool resources, all macro-regional strategies share the aim of ensuring a coordinated approach to issues best addressed jointly. In spite of a broad consensus on the importance of the macro-regional strategies as a ...

Encompassing regions from European Union (EU) Member States and third countries confronted with a common set of challenges, macro-regions are defined on the basis of geographical features. Whether inspired by a sense of regional identity, a desire to engage in closer cooperation or to pool resources, all macro-regional strategies share the aim of ensuring a coordinated approach to issues best addressed jointly. In spite of a broad consensus on the importance of the macro-regional strategies as a relevant instrument for the optimal use of existing financial resources, some assessments indicate that stronger political ownership is needed. Currently the EU has four macro-regional strategies, covering the Baltic Sea region, the Danube region, the Adriatic-Ionian region and the Alpine region, which address common challenges and achieve economic, environmental, social and territorial cohesion. On occasion, calls are made to launch additional strategies, covering new geographical areas. Some Member States currently voice the need for a fifth macro-regional strategy, covering the Carpathian mountains, where the borders of many countries meet. The region suffers inherent weaknesses in fields such as transport, socio-economic development, innovation and energy supply, and needs to protect its rare and valuable natural resources and cultural heritage. The Polish government has presented a proposal for a common strategy for the Carpathian region to the European Commission, after consultation with several countries in the region. This draft plan has not yet been approved by all of the countries concerned. The Council remains open to any commonly agreed and mature initiative aimed at setting up a new macro-regional strategy; however it has not endorsed the creation of a macro-regional strategy for the Carpathian region. The Committee of the Regions explicitly supports the initiative to create an EU strategy for the Carpathian region. The European Commission and the European Parliament are more cautious when it comes to launching new strategies and suggest building on existing ones instead. This briefing has been produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Parliament and the Committee.

Protecting the rule of law in the EU: Existing mechanisms and possible improvements

06-11-2019

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have ...

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have been enshrined in the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The EU's very design is based on a shared responsibility for upholding and enforcing EU law, which is the joint task of the ECJ and national courts. The rule of law within the Member States, at least in areas covered by EU law, is therefore indispensable for the proper functioning of the Union and its legal system. Furthermore, the rule of law is one of the EU's fundamental values, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, which must be respected by the Member States, including in areas not covered by EU law. Should an EU Member State be suspected of breaching the rule of law, a number of procedures are available to verify this and, if needed, remedy the situation. First of all, there are three 'soft' mechanisms, which do not give rise to legally binding results, yet nevertheless have a certain political resonance and can be seen as a preparatory step towards legal action. These include the transitional 'special cooperation and verification mechanism' (included in the Act of Accession for Bulgaria and Romania), the Commission's rule of law framework, and the Council's annual dialogues on the rule of law. Apart from these 'soft' mechanisms, three legal procedures are also available which, if concluded, can produce legally binding results. First of all, infringement proceedings can be brought by the Commission if the alleged breach could also amount to the violation of a specific rule of EU law. Secondly, national courts from a Member State in which the rule of law is breached may refer preliminary questions to the ECJ, seeking guidance on the interpretation of EU law with a view to assessing the compatibility of national legislation. Finally, the breach of values procedure can be triggered, possibly leading to the suspension of a Member State's membership rights. This briefing has been produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

Sampling points for air quality - Representativeness and comparability of measurement in accordance with Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe

18-03-2019

Air quality monitoring at fixed sites is a major instrument provided for in the Ambient Air Quality Directive to check compliance with limit or target values, which have been set for the protection of human health. This study analyses the criteria for the location of monitoring sites in five Member States to identify ambiguous provisions that might lead to different assessments of air pollution exposure. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on the Environment ...

Air quality monitoring at fixed sites is a major instrument provided for in the Ambient Air Quality Directive to check compliance with limit or target values, which have been set for the protection of human health. This study analyses the criteria for the location of monitoring sites in five Member States to identify ambiguous provisions that might lead to different assessments of air pollution exposure. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament.

Külső szerző

Christian NAGL, Wolfgang SPANGL, Iris BUXBAUM

The Polbud judgment and the freedom of establishment for companies in the European Union: problems and perspectives

23-10-2018

The present work provides a study of analysis of the EU Court of Justice’s Polbud judgment on the cross-border conversion. It has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. This study focuses on the implications of the judgment for the freedom of establishment of companies across the EU, including the potential risk of “forum and tax shopping” as well as for the protection of creditors, minority ...

The present work provides a study of analysis of the EU Court of Justice’s Polbud judgment on the cross-border conversion. It has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. This study focuses on the implications of the judgment for the freedom of establishment of companies across the EU, including the potential risk of “forum and tax shopping” as well as for the protection of creditors, minority shareholders and workers.

Külső szerző

Simona FRAZZANI Professor Carlo ANGELICI Professor Jochen HOFFMANN Silvia MEDICI, Professor Francesco SCIAUDONE

Research for TRAN Committee - Transport and Tourism in Poland

14-09-2018

This overview of the transport and tourism sectors in Poland was prepared to provide information for the mission of the Committee on Transport and Tourism to the country in September 2018.

This overview of the transport and tourism sectors in Poland was prepared to provide information for the mission of the Committee on Transport and Tourism to the country in September 2018.

Külső szerző

Marcin Wołek

The State of the Union [What Think Tanks are thinking]

07-09-2018

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will deliver his last State of the Union address to the European Parliament on Wednesday 12 September, a little more than eight months before the next European elections. In this annual speech in Strasbourg, President Juncker is expected to take stock of the state of play on his ten priorities for the 2014-2019 political cycle and present his remaining initiatives on building a 'more united, stronger and more democratic Union'. Juncker ...

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will deliver his last State of the Union address to the European Parliament on Wednesday 12 September, a little more than eight months before the next European elections. In this annual speech in Strasbourg, President Juncker is expected to take stock of the state of play on his ten priorities for the 2014-2019 political cycle and present his remaining initiatives on building a 'more united, stronger and more democratic Union'. Juncker’s 2017 address was marked by cautious optimism: since then, whilst the European economy has continued to recover, several other challenges have proved persistent. This note offers a selection of links to commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the state of the EU and possible reforms. Brexit-related publications can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking’ from July 2018. Papers on migration are available in an earlier edition in this series, published in June. Those on euro-zone reform appear in a previous publication in June.

EU consumer protection rules

10-07-2018

The IA is aimed at underpinning new legislation in the field of consumer protection, as called for in various European Parliament resolutions. It represents a considerable body of work, based on extensive evaluation and consultation. Methodological weaknesses include the narrow range of options to calibrate the evaluation findings. Secondly, there are some presentation issues, which do not facilitate consideration of the Commission’s choices. For instance, the large space devoted to consultation ...

The IA is aimed at underpinning new legislation in the field of consumer protection, as called for in various European Parliament resolutions. It represents a considerable body of work, based on extensive evaluation and consultation. Methodological weaknesses include the narrow range of options to calibrate the evaluation findings. Secondly, there are some presentation issues, which do not facilitate consideration of the Commission’s choices. For instance, the large space devoted to consultation comes at the expense of useful and more sound information.

The Visegrad Group and the rule of law [What Think Tanks are thinking]

08-05-2018

Political developments in the Visegrád Group countries have raised concern over the commitment of some of their leaders and senior politicians to European Union values, notably the rule of law. The Visegrád Group is an informal alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, all of which joined the EU in 2004. Criticism by EU officials and some other Union governments centres on Hungary and Poland, where governments have implemented a number of controversial reforms, notably of the ...

Political developments in the Visegrád Group countries have raised concern over the commitment of some of their leaders and senior politicians to European Union values, notably the rule of law. The Visegrád Group is an informal alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, all of which joined the EU in 2004. Criticism by EU officials and some other Union governments centres on Hungary and Poland, where governments have implemented a number of controversial reforms, notably of the judiciary. In December 2017, the European Commission triggered the first phase of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which can ultimately deprive a country found guilty of violating EU values of voting rights. In addition, a European Parliament draft report notes a deterioration of the rule of law in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won a third term in office in the country’s recent general election. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the Visegrád Group, its internal relations and its role within the EU, with the focus on the rule of law debate.

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