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Conference on the Future of Europe

07-05-2021

After many debates and statements of principle in recent years, the time for a more structured discussion on the future of Europe's development has arrived. The Conference on the Future of Europe, announced by the Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen in her inaugural address, is set to start after a long period of standstill owing not only to changed priorities brought by the coronavirus pandemic, but also to lengthy negotiations among the institutions. The aim of the conference is to debate ...

After many debates and statements of principle in recent years, the time for a more structured discussion on the future of Europe's development has arrived. The Conference on the Future of Europe, announced by the Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen in her inaugural address, is set to start after a long period of standstill owing not only to changed priorities brought by the coronavirus pandemic, but also to lengthy negotiations among the institutions. The aim of the conference is to debate how the EU should develop in the future, identify where it is rising to the challenges of current times, and enhance those areas that need reform or strengthening. A key aspect of this initiative is to bring the public closer to the EU institutions, listen to people's concerns, involve them directly in the process of the Conference and provide an adequate and meaningful response. In this respect, the ambition is to set up pan-European forums for discussion, for the first time ever, where citizens of all Member States can debate the EU's priorities and make recommendations, to be taken into account by the political-institutional powers that be and, ideally, translated into practical measures. The pandemic hit as the preparation of the conference was just beginning and inevitably caused a delay. In March 2021, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission agreed on a joint declaration, laying down the common rules and principles governing the conference. It was agreed that the leadership of the conference would be shared by the three institutions, with the conference chaired jointly by their three presidents. The Conference on the Future of Europe has all the prerequisites to be an excellent opportunity to engage in a more structured debate between institutions and citizens, and arrive at concrete proposals to improve the way the EU works, in terms not only of institutional dynamics, but also of policies. Some have cautioned however that the initiative must be conducted with the utmost care, in particular as regards the follow-up, so that it remains a meaningful endeavour. This is an updated edition of a Briefing from December 2019.

Investing in destabilisation: How foreign money is used to undermine democracy in the EU

06-05-2021

Foreign interference has become a major security threat for democracies. The European Union (EU) provides no exception and, in the last few years, has significantly stepped up its efforts to counter this threat. A specific type of foreign interference is the foreign funding of political parties. At the national level, regulations banning or limiting foreign funding are currently in place in most member states, but there is still significant variation across them. At the EU level, the recent reforms ...

Foreign interference has become a major security threat for democracies. The European Union (EU) provides no exception and, in the last few years, has significantly stepped up its efforts to counter this threat. A specific type of foreign interference is the foreign funding of political parties. At the national level, regulations banning or limiting foreign funding are currently in place in most member states, but there is still significant variation across them. At the EU level, the recent reforms of the regulation on the funding of the Europarties and their associated foundations have banned contributions from abroad. Notwithstanding such welcome changes to party regulations, cases of foreign funding are still being reported in several member states, with foreign actors exploiting regulatory loopholes to channel funds or provide other types of support. To tackle this issue more effectively, regulatory convergence at the national level should be promoted, the transparency of party accounts should be enhanced, and the monitoring and sanctioning powers of the relevant control authorities strengthened.

Ārējais autors

Edoardo BRESSANELLI

Best Practices in the whole-of-society approach in countering hybrid threats

06-05-2021

Over recent years, the European Union has increased efforts to strengthen its resilience to hybrid threats. A model of preparedness based on the notions of ‘whole-of-society’, ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘societal resilience’ has gained ground in the EU’s policy work. Although some progress has been made, many obstacles and challenges remain. The EU needs to address conceptual questions involved with the mapping of hybrid threats to facilitate targeted and effective countermeasures, as well as initiatives ...

Over recent years, the European Union has increased efforts to strengthen its resilience to hybrid threats. A model of preparedness based on the notions of ‘whole-of-society’, ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘societal resilience’ has gained ground in the EU’s policy work. Although some progress has been made, many obstacles and challenges remain. The EU needs to address conceptual questions involved with the mapping of hybrid threats to facilitate targeted and effective countermeasures, as well as initiatives to improve societal resilience. Although the EU recognises the strategic value of resilience, the concept’s precise meaning and level of added value remain vague. Its exact relationship to national preparedness and hybrid threats, as well as the whole-of-society approach requires clarification. In addition to addressing these issues, this study analyses some best practices from the whole-of-society approach by examining action taken by Finland, Sweden and Australia in this regard. The study also provides recommendations for further actions.

Ārējais autors

Mikael WIGELL;Harri MIKKOLA;Tapio JUNTUNEN

Current membership of the European Council

05-05-2021

The European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's ...

The European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's membership.

The six policy priorities of the von der Leyen Commission: State of play in spring 2021

03-05-2021

This EPRS paper analyses progress in attaining the policy agenda set out by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and her College of Commissioners when they took office in December 2019. It looks in particular at the state of play in respect of delivery on the six key priorities asserted at that time and at how they have since been affected by the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The evidence so far suggests that, rather than undermine their original agenda or knock it badly ...

This EPRS paper analyses progress in attaining the policy agenda set out by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and her College of Commissioners when they took office in December 2019. It looks in particular at the state of play in respect of delivery on the six key priorities asserted at that time and at how they have since been affected by the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The evidence so far suggests that, rather than undermine their original agenda or knock it badly off course, the Commission has been able to use the momentum of events to assert the increased relevance of their priorities – especially in the climate action and digital fields – and to operationalise them further through the €750 billion 'Next Generation EU' (NGEU) recovery fund. Concretely, EPRS finds that of the nearly 400 legislative and non-legislative initiatives foreshadowed by the von der Leyen Commission on taking office or since (397), almost half have already been submitted (192). Of these, one in five has already been adopted (43), while the great majority of the remainder are either proceeding normally in the legislative process (97) or are close to adoption (26). Conversely, a certain number of proposals are proceeding very slowly or are currently blocked (26).

Plenary round-up – April 2021

30-04-2021

The April 2021 plenary session featured a debate on the outcome of EU-UK negotiations and the vote on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Members also debated the conclusions of the 25 and 26 March 2021 European Council meeting and the outcome of the 6 April 2021 high-level EU-Turkey meeting. Members debated ways to save the summer tourism season and provide EU support to the hospitality sector, and underlined the need for affordable Covid 19 testing. Parliament also debated statements by ...

The April 2021 plenary session featured a debate on the outcome of EU-UK negotiations and the vote on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Members also debated the conclusions of the 25 and 26 March 2021 European Council meeting and the outcome of the 6 April 2021 high-level EU-Turkey meeting. Members debated ways to save the summer tourism season and provide EU support to the hospitality sector, and underlined the need for affordable Covid 19 testing. Parliament also debated statements by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borell, on Russia, Alexei Navalny, the military build-up on Ukraine's border and the Russian attack on an arms depot in Czechia, on Chinese counter-sanctions, and on the fifth anniversary of the Peace Agreement in Colombia. Parliament also voted on a mandatory transparency register for outside interests meeting with the three institutions.

Disinformation and propaganda: impact on the functioning of the rule of law and democratic processes in the EU and its Member States - 2021 update

27-04-2021

Between January 2019 and January 2021, the impact of disinformation actions and responses to them were considerably different than in previous years. Our research showed that disinformation actions increasingly merged with genuine content, and their sources became even more difficult to identify. Particularly strong impacts were seen in cases where disinformation and manipulative propaganda were spread by individuals with high levels of political authority, who enjoy the trust and attention of citizens ...

Between January 2019 and January 2021, the impact of disinformation actions and responses to them were considerably different than in previous years. Our research showed that disinformation actions increasingly merged with genuine content, and their sources became even more difficult to identify. Particularly strong impacts were seen in cases where disinformation and manipulative propaganda were spread by individuals with high levels of political authority, who enjoy the trust and attention of citizens. Diverse legislative and policy measurements were introduced by various Member States and third states, and civil society responses also flourished, particularly in relation to increasing resilience against disinformation. Ongoing research into the psychological mechanism of manipulation and resilience gives more detailed results. This study aims to provide recommendations on legislative and policy measures to protect democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights from the impact of disinformation, as well as to create a structured informational ecosystem which promotes and protects these values.

Ārējais autors

Judit BAYER;Bernd HOLZNAGEL;Katarzyna LUBIANIEC;Adela PINTEA;Josephine B. SCHMITT;Judit SZAKÁCS;Erik USZKIEWICZ

Primacy's Twilight? On the Legal Consequences of the Ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court of 5 May 2020 for the Primacy of EU Law

27-04-2021

The study analyses the repercussions of the judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court of 5 May 2020. It puts the decision into context, makes a normative assessment, analyses possible consequences and makes some policy recommendations.

The study analyses the repercussions of the judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court of 5 May 2020. It puts the decision into context, makes a normative assessment, analyses possible consequences and makes some policy recommendations.

Ārējais autors

Niels Petersen - Konstantin Chatziathanasiou

Inter-institutional relations in the treatment of petitions: the role of the Commission

26-04-2021

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee. It presents an analysis of the EU right to petition, as a key element of participatory democracy, and its procedure with a focus on the cooperation between the Committee on Petitions and the Commission. It examines the procedures to deal with petitions and infringements of EU law, in particular EU environmental law. It provides an overview ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee. It presents an analysis of the EU right to petition, as a key element of participatory democracy, and its procedure with a focus on the cooperation between the Committee on Petitions and the Commission. It examines the procedures to deal with petitions and infringements of EU law, in particular EU environmental law. It provides an overview of key features of national petition systems in relation to the EU system and proposes recommendations for action by the EP and the Commission to improve the way petitions are handled.

Ārējais autors

Maxime MOULAC, Consultant for Milieu Consulting SRL. Marta BALLESTEROS, Senior Lawyer and Manager for Milieu Consulting SRL.

Towards a more resilient Europe post-coronavirus: Options to enhance the EU's resilience to structural risks

16-04-2021

The coronavirus crisis has underlined the need for the European Union (EU) to devote greater efforts to anticipatory governance, and to attempt to strengthen its resilience in the face of risks from both foreseeable and unforeseeable events. This paper builds further on an initial 'mapping' in mid-2020 of some 66 potential structural risks which could confront Europe over the coming decade, and a second paper last autumn which looked at the EU's capabilities to address 33 of those risks assessed ...

The coronavirus crisis has underlined the need for the European Union (EU) to devote greater efforts to anticipatory governance, and to attempt to strengthen its resilience in the face of risks from both foreseeable and unforeseeable events. This paper builds further on an initial 'mapping' in mid-2020 of some 66 potential structural risks which could confront Europe over the coming decade, and a second paper last autumn which looked at the EU's capabilities to address 33 of those risks assessed as being more significant or likely, and at the various gaps in policy and instruments at the Union's disposal. Delving deeper in 25 specific areas, this new paper identifies priorities for building greater resilience within the Union system, drawing on the European Parliament's own resolutions and proposals made by other EU institutions, as well as by outside experts and stakeholders. In the process, it highlights some of the key constraints that will need to be addressed if strengthened resilience is to be achieved, as well as the opportunities that follow from such an approach.

Gaidāmie notikumi

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