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Implementation of macro-regional strategies

20-02-2020

While each macro-regional strategy is unique in terms of the countries it brings together and the scope of its policies, they all share the same common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues that are best tackled together. Building on the success of the pioneering 2009 European Union strategy for the Baltic Sea region, this form of cooperation has since become firmly embedded in the EU's institutional framework, with four strategies now in place, covering a total of 19 Member States and ...

While each macro-regional strategy is unique in terms of the countries it brings together and the scope of its policies, they all share the same common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues that are best tackled together. Building on the success of the pioneering 2009 European Union strategy for the Baltic Sea region, this form of cooperation has since become firmly embedded in the EU's institutional framework, with four strategies now in place, covering a total of 19 Member States and 8 third countries. Every two years, the European Commission publishes a report to assess the implementation of these strategies, most recently in 2019. With the views of stakeholders and other players helping to complete the picture, it is possible to identify a number of challenges common to all macro-regional strategies in areas such as governance, funding, political commitment and the need to be more results oriented. This, in turn, has helped focus discussions on the future role of macro-regional strategies within the post 2020 cohesion policy framework. For while recent months have seen the idea of a fifth macro-regional strategy resurface, with negotiations now under way on the cohesion policy architecture beyond 2020, the future position of macro-regional strategies within this framework looks set to be the key issue in the coming months for all actors involved in the EU’s macro-regional strategies. Parliament has actively taken part in this debate, through its participation in trilogues on the cohesion policy package, and its 2018 resolution on the implementation of macro-regional strategies. The current Croatian EU Presidency has also committed to focusing on achieving the goals of macro-regional strategies and ensuring their complementarity with cohesion policy as part of its programme, helping to keep the issue high on the political agenda. Much will depend, however, on the outcome of the ongoing multiannual financial framework (MFF) negotiations, which will be critical not only for macro-regional strategies but also for the future shape of cohesion policy in general. This is an updated edition of a Briefing from September 2017.

Just transition in EU regions

28-01-2020

The EU plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries. As part of the European Green Deal, the new Commission has announced a 'Just Transition Mechanism' of €100 billion to support the territories most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.

The EU plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries. As part of the European Green Deal, the new Commission has announced a 'Just Transition Mechanism' of €100 billion to support the territories most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.

EU cohesiveness and cohesion [What Think Tanks are thinking]

10-01-2020

The European Union is envisaged as an area of growing stability, security and prosperity, with integration allowing it to boost citizens’ living standards and to enhance its influence globally. Generous cohesion and regional development funds are meant to limit wealth disparities among the various EU regions and countries. However, frequent difficulties in forging common foreign and economic policies, due to national differences, can diminish the EU’s domestic effectiveness and international leverage ...

The European Union is envisaged as an area of growing stability, security and prosperity, with integration allowing it to boost citizens’ living standards and to enhance its influence globally. Generous cohesion and regional development funds are meant to limit wealth disparities among the various EU regions and countries. However, frequent difficulties in forging common foreign and economic policies, due to national differences, can diminish the EU’s domestic effectiveness and international leverage, while inequalities in income have been widening, especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by international think tanks and research institutes on EU cohesiveness and cohesion published over the past year.

Linking cohesion policy and the European Semester: Partnership and multi-level governance to boost investment and structural reforms

06-12-2019

Multi-level governance requires the involvement of all levels of government, central, regional and local, in decision-making. Obstacles to appropriate and adequate involvement may lead to infringements of the principles of subsidiarity. However, under the cycle of EU economic and fiscal policy coordination known as the European Semester, local and regional administrations are considered to be 'stakeholders' – that is, they are not categorised as part of general government. Recent extension of the ...

Multi-level governance requires the involvement of all levels of government, central, regional and local, in decision-making. Obstacles to appropriate and adequate involvement may lead to infringements of the principles of subsidiarity. However, under the cycle of EU economic and fiscal policy coordination known as the European Semester, local and regional administrations are considered to be 'stakeholders' – that is, they are not categorised as part of general government. Recent extension of the European Semester to aspects of cohesion policy may consequently strengthen a top-down policy approach. A Code of Conduct, such as that proposed by the European Committee of the Regions, may help correct this imbalance.

Research for REGI Committee-Urban Agenda: Assessment from the European Parliament's Perspective

15-11-2019

The 2016 Pact of Amsterdam launched the Urban Agenda for the European Union. Within its framework, partnerships of urban authorities, Member States and other stakeholders have developed action plans to achieve better funding, better knowledge and better regulation for the priority theme of their partnership. This study provides an overview and critical assessment of the current state of play including the position of the European Parliament. Two partnerships, (1) Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-based ...

The 2016 Pact of Amsterdam launched the Urban Agenda for the European Union. Within its framework, partnerships of urban authorities, Member States and other stakeholders have developed action plans to achieve better funding, better knowledge and better regulation for the priority theme of their partnership. This study provides an overview and critical assessment of the current state of play including the position of the European Parliament. Two partnerships, (1) Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-based Solutions and (2) Housing, are studied in more detail.

Autor extern

TU Delft: Willem K KORTHALS ALTES, Marietta EA HAFFNER Assisted by Danielle A GROETELAERS

Better communication for cohesion policy

05-11-2019

Cohesion policy is a major EU investment tool aimed at reducing regional disparities and achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion. It delivers a wide range of results in areas such as new infrastructure, training, job creation, support for small businesses and environmental protection. Communication is key when it comes to making the public aware of existing funding opportunities and informing them of the results of cohesion policy investments. It can also affect public perception of the ...

Cohesion policy is a major EU investment tool aimed at reducing regional disparities and achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion. It delivers a wide range of results in areas such as new infrastructure, training, job creation, support for small businesses and environmental protection. Communication is key when it comes to making the public aware of existing funding opportunities and informing them of the results of cohesion policy investments. It can also affect public perception of the EU and raise awareness of the positive impact of EU support on people's everyday lives. Improving the visibility of cohesion policy is therefore a salient issue for the EU. Communication measures range from requirements for fund managers and beneficiaries on the basis of EU legislation to more informal initiatives such as information campaigns, events and web portals aimed at publicising the policy's achievements. In the framework of multi-level governance, communication activities bring together a wide variety of actors including EU institutions, Member States, regional and local authorities and members of civil society. The ongoing negotiations on the new multiannual financial framework for 2021 to 2027, including new regulations on cohesion policy, and the upcoming conclusion of the 2014-2020 programming period provide a good opportunity for reflection on the issue of cohesion policy communication. This briefing updates an earlier edition, of March 2019. It was originally 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.

Implementing the Urban Agenda for the EU

02-10-2019

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policy-making. To help ...

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policy-making. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communication on the urban dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that would ultimately lead to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. With the pact providing for the creation of urban partnerships focusing on key urban themes, all partnerships are now in operation. A total of 12 partnerships have now drawn up action plans, allowing the partners involved to contribute to the design of future, or the revision of current, EU legislation. As many of these plans are currently at the implementation stage, this is leading to a series of concrete deliverables, helping to ensure that the Urban Agenda for the EU is making a real difference on the ground. Developments such as better coordination at the Commission on urban issues have further consolidated the Urban Agenda, yet challenges remain. In this context, the Commission's proposals for the cohesion framework post-2020, which include creating a European urban initiative to support the Urban Agenda, the imminent Commission assessment of Urban Agenda implementation and the planned renewal of the Leipzig Charter in 2020, all have the potential to strengthen the Urban Agenda. Successfully implementing the Urban Agenda, however, will ultimately depend on the partnerships' ability to deliver actions and on the extent to which they are taken up by the Commission, a process requiring full commitment from all partners involved.

Metropolitan regions in EU cohesion policy

02-10-2019

Metropolitan regions currently include three fifths of the EU population – a proportion that is expected to increase in the future. These regions constitute important poles of innovation, research and economic growth, while also offering a wide variety of educational, cultural and professional opportunities to their inhabitants. Nevertheless, metropolitan regions face a number of important challenges. As they are composed of urban, sub-urban and even rural areas, they require a multidimensional policy ...

Metropolitan regions currently include three fifths of the EU population – a proportion that is expected to increase in the future. These regions constitute important poles of innovation, research and economic growth, while also offering a wide variety of educational, cultural and professional opportunities to their inhabitants. Nevertheless, metropolitan regions face a number of important challenges. As they are composed of urban, sub-urban and even rural areas, they require a multidimensional policy approach to help them tackle their complex issues. One of the major issues that metropolitan regions usually face is the lack of an efficient, inter-connected transport system. Environmental pollution, a major problem in many such regions, is inextricably linked to transport (exacerbated by the high number of commuters), high energy consumption and waste creation. Metropolitan regions usually constitute poles of population growth and have to cater for the integration of their newly arrived citizens. In certain cases, the increasing demand for accommodation leads to a lack of affordable housing and an escalation of rental and property prices; this problem has worsened in many urban areas of the European Union in recent years. In addition, although metropolitan regions may be hubs of economic growth, they also house big numbers of poor and homeless people. Yet again, a number of de-industrialised EU metropolitan regions are suffering severe economic losses. The EU is addressing the needs of metropolitan regions through a number of funds and tools, most notably the European structural and investment funds. Other EU instruments, such as the Urban Agenda for the EU also provide opportunities for metropolitan regions.

Financial instruments in cohesion policy

30-09-2019

Considered a resource-efficient way of using public funding, the use of financial instruments in cohesion policy is increasing. Financial instruments provide support for investment in the form of loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-sharing mechanisms. In the 2014-2020 programming period, financial instruments can be applied in all thematic areas and funds covered by cohesion policy, and they can be combined with grants. The amounts allocated are expected to double in comparison to the previous ...

Considered a resource-efficient way of using public funding, the use of financial instruments in cohesion policy is increasing. Financial instruments provide support for investment in the form of loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-sharing mechanisms. In the 2014-2020 programming period, financial instruments can be applied in all thematic areas and funds covered by cohesion policy, and they can be combined with grants. The amounts allocated are expected to double in comparison to the previous period. The lessons learnt so far from the implementation of financial instruments show that they present both advantages and challenges. Their revolving nature can increase the efficiency and sustainability of public funds in the long term. The requirement to repay can stimulate better performance and quality of investment projects. They can improve access to finance, through targeting financially viable projects that have not been able to obtain sufficient funding from market sources. However, financial instruments can also entail high management costs and fees, as well as complex set-up procedures. Although financial instruments may be a beneficial way to optimise the use of the cohesion budget, in some situations grants can be more effective. It is also important to bear in mind that the primary goal of financial instruments is to support cohesion policy objectives, rather than just to generate financial returns. The new legislative proposals on the post-2020 cohesion policy framework have taken these considerations into account, simplifying the use of financial instruments. This is an updated edition of a 2016 Briefing.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Elisa Ferreira - Cohesion and Reforms

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

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