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Critical raw materials for the EU: Enablers of the green and digital recovery

18-12-2020

The pandemic has highlighted the risk involved, including for the EU, in relying heavily on external suppliers. The EU's 30 critical raw materials (CRMs) combine two characteristics: they are strategically important for its industry and economy, and there are high risks associated with securing their supply. The notion of strategic autonomy, which has been gaining track recently, calls for a more autonomous and independent EU policy, also in the area of CRMs. Importantly, the core of the EU's response ...

The pandemic has highlighted the risk involved, including for the EU, in relying heavily on external suppliers. The EU's 30 critical raw materials (CRMs) combine two characteristics: they are strategically important for its industry and economy, and there are high risks associated with securing their supply. The notion of strategic autonomy, which has been gaining track recently, calls for a more autonomous and independent EU policy, also in the area of CRMs. Importantly, the core of the EU's response to the pandemic has been to use it to transform its economy and society. The twin transition to a green and digital future relies particularly on the safe and diverse supply of CRMs. In its journey to a low-carbon economy, the EU should however make sure it does not replace its reliance on fossil fuels with a reliance on CRMs. While secure access to CRMs has been on the EU agenda for many years, the European Commission has eagerly stepped up its policy in this area since the beginning of its current term, and in September 2020 delivered a new package of measures. These included a new action plan for CRMs that supports initiatives in four main areas: i) developing resilient value chains for EU industrial ecosystems; ii) supporting sustainable and environmentally friendly domestic mining and processing of raw materials in the EU extraction (with priority given to former coal-mining regions); iii) weakening dependency on primary CRMs through better circular use of resources, environmentally friendly products and innovation; and iv) diversifying supply with sustainable and responsible sourcing from third countries. The EU has also launched the European Raw Materials Alliance, joining together the industry, researchers, Member States and civil society to close the main gaps in the value chains. The European Parliament has been a long-standing supporter of boosting all the elements of CRMs value chains to ensure the security of supply and weaken unwanted dependencies.

This Time is Different: The PEPP Might Not Work in a Sectoral Recession

30-09-2020

The COVID-19 recession is different from previous downturns because it originates in demand and supply disturbances which are highly specific to certain sectors (contact-intensive services). This sectoral nature renders aggregate demand policies, including monetary policy, much less effective. The PEPP was essential to prevent a financial crisis in the Spring of 2020; but there is no need to increase its size. In a sectoral recession, one should not expect much impact from central bank bond buying ...

The COVID-19 recession is different from previous downturns because it originates in demand and supply disturbances which are highly specific to certain sectors (contact-intensive services). This sectoral nature renders aggregate demand policies, including monetary policy, much less effective. The PEPP was essential to prevent a financial crisis in the Spring of 2020; but there is no need to increase its size. In a sectoral recession, one should not expect much impact from central bank bond buying on inflation. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Išorės autorius

Angela CAPOLONGO, Daniel GROS

Outlook for the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020

28-09-2020

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding ...

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding the single market, industrial and digital policy, reiterating the key objective of achieving strategic autonomy, whilst maintaining an open economy. EU leaders are expected to call for development of EU autonomy in the space sector, a more integrated defence industrial base, and for the presentation of a 'digital compass' setting out the EU's digital ambitions for 2030 in its move towards digital sovereignty. EU leaders will also take stock of the coronavirus situation and review the coordination of national and European measures. Finally, the President, Charles Michel, is expected to set out his vision of the main issues to be dealt with by the leaders in the coming year, and to propose a work-plan for the European Council, similar to the Leaders’ Agenda which guided the work of the European Council during Donald Tusk's second mandate as President.

Ten opportunities for Europe post-coronavirus: Exploring potential for progress in EU policy-making

29-07-2020

Whilst much commentary and analysis has understandably been focused on reaction to, and mitigation of, the immediate impact of the coronavirus crisis in Europe and worldwide, relatively little attention has been paid to areas of potential opportunity which the crisis may offer to improve policy for the future. This EPRS analysis looks at ten areas which may offer potential for progress, including working more closely together on health policy, using climate action to promote a sustainable recovery ...

Whilst much commentary and analysis has understandably been focused on reaction to, and mitigation of, the immediate impact of the coronavirus crisis in Europe and worldwide, relatively little attention has been paid to areas of potential opportunity which the crisis may offer to improve policy for the future. This EPRS analysis looks at ten areas which may offer potential for progress, including working more closely together on health policy, using climate action to promote a sustainable recovery, re-thinking the world of work, future-proofing education, harnessing e commerce and championing European values and multilateralism.

Energy-intensive industries

01-07-2020

Energy-intensive industries need to reach climate neutrality by 2050. This study describes the technologies available for the decarbonisation of the iron and steel, chemicals, refining and cement industries as well as the existing financial instruments. Technology and policy roadmaps are presented to help shape the Green Deal and enhance the transition to a climate neutral European industry.

Energy-intensive industries need to reach climate neutrality by 2050. This study describes the technologies available for the decarbonisation of the iron and steel, chemicals, refining and cement industries as well as the existing financial instruments. Technology and policy roadmaps are presented to help shape the Green Deal and enhance the transition to a climate neutral European industry.

Išorės autorius

JSander de BRUYN, Chris JONGSMA, Bettina KAMPMAN, Benjamin GÖRLACH and Jan-Erik THIE

Competition in the EU and globally [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

14-02-2020

The digital revolution, global trade disputes and low growth in the European economy have, among other factors, revived the debate about the merits and drawbacks of the European Union’s strict competition rules, which cover cartels, market dominance, mergers and state aid. Some politicians and economists argue that competition is an increasingly global phenomenon and that the intra-Community trade context for which the EU competition rules were originally designed no longer applies, and that the ...

The digital revolution, global trade disputes and low growth in the European economy have, among other factors, revived the debate about the merits and drawbacks of the European Union’s strict competition rules, which cover cartels, market dominance, mergers and state aid. Some politicians and economists argue that competition is an increasingly global phenomenon and that the intra-Community trade context for which the EU competition rules were originally designed no longer applies, and that the rules themselves are, as a result, too prescriptive. This emerging view might encourage the Union to pursue a more active and coordinated EU industrial policy, supported by more flexible rules on state aid and mergers in particular. The debate comes at a time when the US–China trade conflict and problems in the World Trade Organization are reshaping global economic competition, with new relationships and partnerships being formed. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on the EU’s competition and industrial policy challenges and on the changing nature of global competition. More studies on trade issues can be found in a previous item from this series, published in September 2019.

The EU’s Defence Technological and Industrial Base

10-01-2020

The EU’s Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) has been a key focus of EU policy efforts in recent years, not just for security reasons, but also for economic ones. There have been a host of funds to strengthen and reinforce the EDTIB, and to ensure deeper cooperation, avoid duplication and underscore the interoperability of equipment. These funding streams have not been fully evaluated, but they are important symbols of the energy and commitment with which the EU has attempted to create ...

The EU’s Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) has been a key focus of EU policy efforts in recent years, not just for security reasons, but also for economic ones. There have been a host of funds to strengthen and reinforce the EDTIB, and to ensure deeper cooperation, avoid duplication and underscore the interoperability of equipment. These funding streams have not been fully evaluated, but they are important symbols of the energy and commitment with which the EU has attempted to create an integrated pan-EU defence industry. There have, however, been challenges. The EU Member States remain predisposed to procuring weapons nationally or internationally, rather than regionally. There is a question as to whether these funds are great enough to be genuinely transformative, or whether in practice they are insufficient in relation to investment in the domestic defence industries. Finally, efforts to integrate the EDTIB also risk the EU being seen as protectionist, which may lead other major weapons suppliers such as the US to respond in kind.

Išorės autorius

Dr Benedict Wilkinson, Associate Director of the Policy Institute, King’s College London, UK

10 YEARS OF CSDP - Four in-depth analyses requested by the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence of the European Parliament (EP)

10-01-2020

This policy brief provides an overview of what the EU has done through its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations since 2003, and which achievements and challenges it faces at the end of EU High Representative/Vice-President (HR/VP) Federica Mogherini’s mandate. It evaluates how the overall political context and the EU’s approach have evolved over time, and how this has affected the launch and implementation of CSDP actions. It looks at a range of criteria for evaluating ...

This policy brief provides an overview of what the EU has done through its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations since 2003, and which achievements and challenges it faces at the end of EU High Representative/Vice-President (HR/VP) Federica Mogherini’s mandate. It evaluates how the overall political context and the EU’s approach have evolved over time, and how this has affected the launch and implementation of CSDP actions. It looks at a range of criteria for evaluating the success of missions and operations such as effectiveness, degree of match between mission launch and EU interests at stake, responsiveness, coherence with wider policy strategies, coherence with values and norms, and degree of democratic scrutiny and oversight. It assesses some of the achievements as well as shortcomings of previous and ongoing missions and operations against these objectives. The brief identifies three underlying and cross-cutting problems hampering performance: (i) incompatible attitudes among Member States towards the use of force; (ii) resource disincentives and barriers to timely European solidarity; and (iii) gaps between early warning and early action. It outlines some selected initiatives launched and options discussed to address these shortcomings and improve the EU’s performance in crisis management operations.

Išorės autorius

Christoph O. Meyer, Professor of European & International Politics, King’s College London, UK

EU industrial policy at the crossroads: Current state of affairs, challenges and way forward

02-12-2019

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry ...

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry while maintaining its global competitiveness. It also prompts a reconsideration of the EU's strategic positioning from a defensive to an offensive policy stance. These developments have triggered a lively debate on the need for a renewed, more assertive, comprehensive and coordinated industrial policy at EU level. This paper reviews the current state of affairs and key challenges facing the EU and provides an analysis of the main policy options going forward.

Commitments made at the hearing of Thierry BRETON, Commissioner-designate - Internal Market

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Thierry Breton, appeared before the European Parliament on 14 November 2019 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committees on Industry, research and energy and Internal market and consumer protection. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - The ...

The commissioner-designate, Thierry Breton, appeared before the European Parliament on 14 November 2019 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committees on Industry, research and energy and Internal market and consumer protection. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - The digital economy and society; - A future-ready European industry and single market; and - Defence industry and space.

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