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Thirty years of European territorial cooperation

11-11-2020

Established in 1990, the first European territorial cooperation initiative, Interreg I, focused on cross-border cooperation. Action in this area has expanded over the years to cover broader initiatives such as trans-national cooperation, involving countries from wider geographical areas, and inter-regional cooperation, which brings together regions from across the whole EU. These three strands together make up European territorial cooperation (ETC), which is one of the two main goals of cohesion ...

Established in 1990, the first European territorial cooperation initiative, Interreg I, focused on cross-border cooperation. Action in this area has expanded over the years to cover broader initiatives such as trans-national cooperation, involving countries from wider geographical areas, and inter-regional cooperation, which brings together regions from across the whole EU. These three strands together make up European territorial cooperation (ETC), which is one of the two main goals of cohesion policy today and which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With the removal of many of Europe's frontier posts, travelling freely across borders has become second nature for millions of EU citizens. European territorial cooperation has brought Europeans closer together, strengthened connectivity and improved the natural environment, supported by EU mechanisms such as the European groupings of territorial cooperation, and macro-regional strategies. Yet despite these achievements, numerous obstacles to closer cooperation still remain, such as divergent national rules in the areas of employment, healthcare and social security. Recent years have witnessed increased calls to address these hurdles, with the 2015 Luxembourg EU Presidency launching discussions on a new instrument for cross-border projects, leading to the 2018 European Commission proposal for a cross-border mechanism, and the Commission rolling out initiatives such as the cross-border review and the b-solutions project, which aims to identify and find solutions to remaining bottlenecks, helping to boost growth and cohesion in EU border regions. With negotiations under way on post-2020 cohesion policy, there is broad agreement among many stakeholders on the importance of strengthening Interreg beyond 2020. Yet the budget for ETC has been significantly reduced under the current Interreg proposals despite the many achievements of this policy, not least in recent months during which cross-border cooperation has provided a lifeline for many border regions. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed that territorial cooperation arguably needs protecting more than ever, with the sudden closure of EU internal borders a stark reminder that European territorial cooperation cannot be taken for granted. This is a further updated edition of a briefing from March 2018.

Understanding the European Economic and Social Committee

13-10-2020

The European Social and Economic Committee (EESC), established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, is one of the two advisory bodies of the European Union (EU). Composed of representatives of various European economic and social groups and categories, such as employers, workers, producers, farmers, liberal professions and civil society organisations, the EESC assists the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in the policy-making and legislative process, in an advisory capacity. EESC members ...

The European Social and Economic Committee (EESC), established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, is one of the two advisory bodies of the European Union (EU). Composed of representatives of various European economic and social groups and categories, such as employers, workers, producers, farmers, liberal professions and civil society organisations, the EESC assists the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in the policy-making and legislative process, in an advisory capacity. EESC members are appointed by the Council according to the proposals of national governments and after consulting the European Commission, for a mandate of five years. Since the 2002 Treaty of Nice the maximum number of EESC members has been fixed at 350. With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, the 24 UK members of the EESC also left. In the new mandate starting on 21 September 2020, the total number of members is 329. Over time, the EU Treaties have increased the number of policy areas in which the consultation of the EESC is required for the adoption of legislation; however, the EU institutions often request the Committee's opinion beyond these mandatory areas, and even before legislation is proposed, in order to assess the views of civil society on a specific topic. Importantly, the EESC has acquired the right to give its views on any EU-related issue and the Committee's own-initiative opinions and information reports currently account for around 15 to 20 % of the opinions it adopts every year. In addition to the consultative role assigned by the Treaties, the Committee has set for itself the task of communicating the European Union to citizens, reinforcing participatory democracy and providing a forum for civil dialogue between the EU institutions and civil society. For over 20 years, the EESC has organised events on various topics, cooperated with national economic and social committees and, in general, strived to enhance the role of civil society both in Europe and outside. In all its aspects, the EESC has become a bridge between Europe and organised civil society.

Jacques Delors: Architect of the modern European Union

13-07-2020

The consensus among most historians of European integration and political scientists is that Jacques Delors, who served as President of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995, was the most successful holder of that post to date. His agenda and accomplishments include the EU single market, the Single European Act, Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the rapid integration of the former German Democratic Republic into the European Community. His combination of coherent agenda-setting and strong ...

The consensus among most historians of European integration and political scientists is that Jacques Delors, who served as President of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995, was the most successful holder of that post to date. His agenda and accomplishments include the EU single market, the Single European Act, Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the rapid integration of the former German Democratic Republic into the European Community. His combination of coherent agenda-setting and strong negotiating skills, acquired through long experience of trade union bargaining and years of ministerial responsibilities in turbulent times, puts Delors above other Commission Presidents, whether in terms of institutional innovation or the development of new Europe-wide policies. He also showed himself able to react swiftly to external events, notably the collapse of the Soviet bloc, whilst building Europe’s credibility on the international stage. This Briefing records Delors' life across its crucial stages, from trade union activist, senior civil servant, French politician, and Member of the European Parliament, to the helm of the European Commission, where he left the greatest individual impact on European integration history to date. It also traces the most important ideas that guided Delors in his national and European roles. Finally, it describes the political events and key actors which made Delors' decade in office a time of important decisions and progress in the process of European integration and, in doing so, it draws on recent academic literature and on speeches Delors gave in the European Parliament.

Václav Havel: Advocate of an undivided Europe

08-05-2020

Despite a 'bourgeois' family background, which was a disqualification in communist-led Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel rapidly became an internationally acclaimed playwright. However, his unequivocally proclaimed ethical principles soon put him at odds with the communist regime, resulting in several prison sentences. Havel nevertheless held fast to his belief that moral integrity was a question of necessity, not choice, and attempted to live up to this ideal. The 1989 collapse of the regime made Havel ...

Despite a 'bourgeois' family background, which was a disqualification in communist-led Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel rapidly became an internationally acclaimed playwright. However, his unequivocally proclaimed ethical principles soon put him at odds with the communist regime, resulting in several prison sentences. Havel nevertheless held fast to his belief that moral integrity was a question of necessity, not choice, and attempted to live up to this ideal. The 1989 collapse of the regime made Havel a hero and, shortly after, an unlikely President. During his years in office, he managed to drive his country through the challenges of moving to a free market democracy, while maintaining his personal moral convictions and tirelessly advocating for larger issues of human rights, peace and democracy, underpinned by an active civil society. While Havel and his collaborators recast the foundations of today's Czech and Slovak democracies, his achievements in foreign policy have perhaps been even more important. Reminding Western countries of the dangers of a Europe that continued to be divided even after the removal of the Iron Curtain, Havel was instrumental in anchoring the new Czech Republic in western Europe, through its membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). He both recognised and emphasised the importance of closer European cooperation based on shared values, which for Havel constituted the core of relations among European countries. A firm advocate of the Euro-Atlantic alliance, he supported the United States of America, even on occasions when some other western European countries were reluctant to do so. With his political writings reaching far beyond the circumstances in which they were written, Havel is considered one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. He has received numerous honours and awards. One of the European Parliament's buildings in Strasbourg has borne Václav Havel's name since 2017.

"I want my money back": The history of national rebates

19-02-2020

This document is a brief overview of the history of the own resources system and its rebates.

This document is a brief overview of the history of the own resources system and its rebates.

Autor externo

Zareh Asatryan, Annika Havlik, Friedrich Heinemann, Justus Nover, Marta Pilati

The European Council under the Lisbon Treaty: How has the institution evolved since 2009?

04-12-2019

On 1 December 2009, with the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Council became a formal EU institution. Ten years later, the European Council is seen by many as representing the centre of gravity of the EU's institutional framework. However, was this development purely the result of the changes to the Treaties made with Lisbon or did it happen naturally over time? This study analyses both the formal changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and the incremental evolution resulting ...

On 1 December 2009, with the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Council became a formal EU institution. Ten years later, the European Council is seen by many as representing the centre of gravity of the EU's institutional framework. However, was this development purely the result of the changes to the Treaties made with Lisbon or did it happen naturally over time? This study analyses both the formal changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and the incremental evolution resulting from the institution's day-to-day practice, including the European Council's behaviour during the various crises of the last decade. It outlines the responsibilities envisaged for the European Council in the Treaty and the informal roles it has taken on over time. It explores the extent to which the Lisbon Treaty changed the functioning of the European Council, and how EU leaders themselves tried to optimise the working methods of their institution. Special attention is to the new position of full-time European Council President and the way in which the first two incumbents have interpreted their office. The analysis concludes that, while the EU’s various crises strongly contributed to the rise of the European Council, the Lisbon Treaty united two previously separate dimensions – the political and the legal, formally adding new competences to the role already performed by the EU Heads of State or Government. Many of these competences have yet to be fully exploited and represent a rich seam of unused Treaty potential for the future.

A História do Orçamento da UE

14-06-2019

O orçamento da União Europeia tem três pilares: a sua despesa, o seu financiamento e a sua auditoria. O presente documento analisa as origens do orçamento, o seu desenvolvimento através de um planeamento plurianual e a elaboração anual do orçamento. Esta análise é feita no meio da alteração dos poderes do Parlamento Europeu em relação ao orçamento e da evolução do seu financiamento e do processo de auditoria. Desde a primeira Comunidade Europeia, em 1952, existe uma tensão sobre a elaboração do orçamento ...

O orçamento da União Europeia tem três pilares: a sua despesa, o seu financiamento e a sua auditoria. O presente documento analisa as origens do orçamento, o seu desenvolvimento através de um planeamento plurianual e a elaboração anual do orçamento. Esta análise é feita no meio da alteração dos poderes do Parlamento Europeu em relação ao orçamento e da evolução do seu financiamento e do processo de auditoria. Desde a primeira Comunidade Europeia, em 1952, existe uma tensão sobre a elaboração do orçamento entre as instituições europeias e os Estados-Membros, e uma relação estreita entre as reformas da despesa e as do financiamento.

Autor externo

Dr Giacomo Benedetto

The ECSC Common Assembly's decision to create political groups: Writing a new chapter in transnational parliamentary history

12-06-2019

Political groups in the European Parliament contribute greatly to the institution's supranational character and are a most important element of its parliamentary work. Moreover, the Parliament's political groups have proven to be crucial designers of EU politics and policies. However, when the forerunner of today's Parliament, the Common Assembly of the Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), was established in 1952, the creation of political groups was not envisaged at all. Making use of its autonomy with ...

Political groups in the European Parliament contribute greatly to the institution's supranational character and are a most important element of its parliamentary work. Moreover, the Parliament's political groups have proven to be crucial designers of EU politics and policies. However, when the forerunner of today's Parliament, the Common Assembly of the Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), was established in 1952, the creation of political groups was not envisaged at all. Making use of its autonomy with regard to writing its rules of procedures, the ECSC Common Assembly unanimously decided, at its plenary session in June 1953, to allow the creation of political groups. With this decision, the ECSC Common Assembly became the world's first international assembly organised in political groups. This briefing analyses the decision of the ECSC Common Assembly to create political groups by bringing together political and historical science literature on the topic, as well as original sources from the Parliament's Historical Archives that record considerations and motives for the decision to create political groups. It will illustrate the complementary cultural, historical, organisational and financial reasons for this decision. Furthermore, it will demonstrate that, for the first ECSC Common Assembly members, it was highly important to take account of political affiliations in order to highlight the supranational character of the newly emerging Assembly. Finally, the briefing highlights that common work within the political groups was essential in helping to overcome early difficulties between the Assembly's members with different national backgrounds.

Political groups in the European Parliament since 1979: Key facts and figures

12-06-2019

This study seeks to fill a gap in research on the development of political groups, which have become a crucial component of the European Parliament. In fact, the creation of political groups can be traced back to a June 1953 decision of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Parliament’s forerunner, to allow members to establish three political groups – Christian Democrats, Socialists and Liberals – and thus begin the formation of supranational links among Members ...

This study seeks to fill a gap in research on the development of political groups, which have become a crucial component of the European Parliament. In fact, the creation of political groups can be traced back to a June 1953 decision of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Parliament’s forerunner, to allow members to establish three political groups – Christian Democrats, Socialists and Liberals – and thus begin the formation of supranational links among Members. The paper focuses on the period from the first direct elections, in 1979, to the end of the eighth parliamentary term, and includes data on group membership, on committee chairs by group, on political groups’ staffing and on the funding allocated to political groups and the linked European political foundations.

European elections: A historical perspective

05-06-2019

Between 23 and 26 May 2019, 427 million European Union (EU) citizens had the opportunity to vote for Members of the European Parliament. This was the ninth time that EU citizens could vote directly for the policy- and decision-makers who will represent them in EU politics. European elections are consequently one of the most important events in the EU political cycle. With a view to this year's European election and challenges to come for the new Parliament, many EU observers attached special historical ...

Between 23 and 26 May 2019, 427 million European Union (EU) citizens had the opportunity to vote for Members of the European Parliament. This was the ninth time that EU citizens could vote directly for the policy- and decision-makers who will represent them in EU politics. European elections are consequently one of the most important events in the EU political cycle. With a view to this year's European election and challenges to come for the new Parliament, many EU observers attached special historical significance to this ninth European election. Looking back, while the very first European election was held forty years ago, in 1979, the journey to holding European elections was long and complex.

Futuros eventos

01-03-2021
Decarbonising European industry: hydrogen and other solutions (online event)
Seminário -
STOA
01-03-2021
Hearing on Transport of live animals in third countries
Audição -
ANIT
01-03-2021
Exchange of views with HR/VP Josep Borrell
Audição -
INGE

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