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Nuclear energy and the promise of cost-effective small modular reactors (SMRs) is high on the EU's policy agenda, against the backdrop of a difficult global geopolitical context and the Union's energy security and climate ambitions. The EU is building a comprehensive strategy for the development and deployment of SMRs, acknowledging their potential benefits and challenges. Innovative nuclear technologies are of significant strategic value, with major steps being taken to increase the supply of advanced ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control, explores new technological developments that are being or could be applied in the field of budgetary control and how these could be used to enhance the prevention of fraud and corruption and ensure sound financial management of EU funds. New technological developments covered by the study include big data analytics, artificial intelligence, digital platforms, robotic process automation, distributed ledger technologies ...

The European Commission plans to adopt a communication on a European degree in the first quarter of 2024. A future joint European degree could provide a framework to facilitate the development of joint programmes and the delivery of joint degrees offered by multiple higher education institutions across Europe. As a first step, a joint European degree label based on co-created European criteria is being piloted through Erasmus+ projects. Any further steps towards the development of a possible joint ...

This study examines the evolving role of the European Council in the EU’s constitutional structure. As the study demonstrates, the increasing tendency of the European Council to instruct other EU institutions and its limited accountability have established an increasing gap between its de jure role under the EU Treaties and its de facto power in the larger system of EU governance. This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs ...

Academic freedom is widely acknowledged both as a fundamental value of present-day higher education and science, and as a prerequisite for well-functioning democratic societies. Yet in recent years, major concerns about the state of academic freedom in the European Union have been raised by various stakeholders. The European Parliament launched an annual EP Academic Freedom Monitor in 2022, aimed at helping to strengthen the protection of academic freedom in the European Union. This report presents ...

This briefing traces the evolution of the debates on the European Parliament's powers, and their (dis)connection to the organisation of the first direct European elections in 1979. It spans the period leading up to 1979, and also assesses the aftermath of these landmark elections. It shows that well into the 1970s, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) put great effort into de coupling the debates on organising Parliament's direct elections from those on expanding its institutional powers. MEPs ...

The European Parliament has, for a long time, demanded a more integrated and purposeful European foreign, security, and defence policy. It has also argued for an enhanced role for itself in this policy field. With the European Union facing multiple external challenges, it is timely to explore Parliament's long-standing demands for a more robust collective approach to issues such as defence and arms procurement. In June 1991, the European Parliament adopted the Political Affairs Committee report on ...

Strategic foresight was identified as a political priority by the European Commission back in 2019, and was integrated into the EU's better regulation guidelines in 2021. It allows practitioners to anticipate alternative futures and, hence, represents a key tool for the EU to future-proof its policies and legislation. Its relevance spans the policy cycle, being of interest ex ante to impact assessments (IAs) and ex post to evaluations. This briefing examines the use of strategic foresight by the ...

In 2023, the EU celebrated the 30th anniversary of the single market. Recent shocks have shown not only how vulnerable to crises the single market is, but also the extent to which the EU economy relies on a well-functioning single market. It is now considered to be a key driver of EU resilience. In September 2022, the Commission put forward a single market emergency instrument (SMEI) package. It includes one main proposal for a regulation establishing a SMEI, and two accompanying proposals amending ...